Google explains the reason that prevented it from implementing Gemini Nano on Pixels

Google analyzes the impact of AI models on smartphones, highlighting the disparities between Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8 regarding support for Gemini Nano.

In early March, Google said that the standard Pixel 8 series model would not support Gemini, attributing this mainly to unspecified “hardware limitations.”

This statement seemed controversial , considering the emphasis on artificial intelligence for the entire series and the modest difference in RAM between the Pixel 8 (8 GB) and the Pixel 8 Pro (12 GB), which was not limited.
Despite having developed an artificial intelligence model specifically for smartphones called “Gemini Nano”, the company had opted not to make it compatible with its less powerful smartphone.

Subsequently, Google partially changed its announcement , communicating through the Pixel Phone support forum that the more compact model will receive the Gemini Nano in the next quarterly Android update, scheduled for June.

However, some differences will persist even in the new version.
On Pixel 8 it will be possible to use Gemini only ” if you are a developer “, that is, by activating a hidden option in the settings.

Smart answer

Seang Chau of Google, with a past at Motorola
Seang Chau of Google, with a past at Motorola

During the “Made by Google” podcast, Google’s Seang Chau clarified that the problem lies not in the existence of Gemini Nano, but in the implications of having a large language model resident on your phone , citing the need to find compromises .

Chau explained that the Pixel 8 Pro, equipped with 12 GB of RAM, represented the optimal environment for the introduction of Gemini Nano, to “test its capabilities” , while the Pixel 8’s 4 GB of RAM less would have made the situation more complex.

Since Gemini, like every other LLM model, requires a significant amount of memory when active, and some AI functions require such models to be memory resident to ensure fast response times: implementing the functions on Pixel 8 could have undermined performance of the device.