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Pixel 8 Pro becomes the first smartphone powered by Google’s new AI model, Gemini


Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The Pixel 8 Pro will now become the first Android smartphone to be powered by Google’s next-generation AI model, Gemini, starting today, the company announced. Gemini Nano, a version of the model designed for running on-device, as on smartphones, will now leverage Google’s Tensor G3 to deliver two Pixel 8 Pro features, Summarize in Recorder and Smart Reply in Gboard. Because the AI runs on-device, it will help keep sensitive data from leaving the phone as well as allow for the use of the features even if you’re without a network connection.

Gemini Nano is the most efficient version of Google’s new AI model, designed to run on devices, like smartphones. With its launch, it will now be the brains behind an AI summarizer feature in the Recorder app on the Pixel 8 Pro. The Recorder app, which lets users push a button to record and transcribe audio, will now include a Gemini-powered summary of your recorded conversations, interviews, presentations or other audio. With the shift to Gemini Nano, users will be able to get these summaries even if they don’t have a signal or Wi-Fi connection available.

This feature will be available on Pixel 8 Pro devices starting today. In addition, the Recorder app now transcribes in 28 new languages.

Meanwhile, Gemini Nano is coming to Gboard, Google’s keyboard app, as a developer preview. Here, it will power a feature called Smart Reply which helps to suggest the next thing you’ll want to say when having a conversation in a messaging app. The feature will initially work with WhatsApp, but will come to more apps in 2024, Google says. With Gemini Nano, the responses suggested will be of higher quality, the company claims, as the AI model will have more conversational awareness.

In addition to running Gemini Nano on the device, Android users will be able to tap into the new Gemini model via Bard. Early next year, this will also include powering Assistant with Bard on Pixel devices, essentially upgrading Google’s answer to Siri with a model that’s as smart and even more capable in some areas than something like ChatGPT.

Longer-term, the impacts of improved AI on devices could prompt people to make the switch to Android. Combined with the launch of Beeper, an app bringing iMessage to Android, some are already considering the possibility of moving to their preferred Android device. Plus, Google’s advances in AI are making its Pixel phone a more AI-enabled smartphone, with a bevy of AI features, like Magic Editor and Best Take in Google Photos, Assistant with Bard, AI-powered call screening and more.

Alongside the Gemini-powered features, the Pixel 8 Pro received other new features, Google announced today via a blog post. This includes a Video Boost feature that leverages the Tensor G3 to upload video to the cloud where computational models adjust the video’s color, lighting, stabilization, and graininess. This also enables Night Sight video on the Pixel 8 Pro, which uses AI to apply noise reduction to videos recorded at nighttime or in other low-light conditions, including timelapse videos.

Another new AI model in Google Photos will also improve Portrait light, while a Photo Unblur feature is now able to sharpen images of dogs and cats who wiggle during photos.

Other Pixel devices are getting upgrades, too, like a “Dual Screen Preview” mode on Pixel Fold, for previewing photos.

Plus, Pixel Fold and Pixel 6 and newer phones will be able to connect to a computer via USB to use the phone as the webcam on video calls. Those devices will also now suggest “contextual replies” during Call Screen, which has arrived on the Pixel Watch, too. Pixel’s Direct My Call and Hold for Me features have expanded to business numbers without a toll-free prefix and are now available in the U.K.

A new “Clean” feature will remove smudges and stains from scanned documents. A few other features around security, authentication, new widgets and others focused on the Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet are detailed on the Google blog. 

Updated, 12/6/23, 4:50 PM ET with more details about the Pixel feature drop.

 





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