Remember when Google seemingly gave Pixel 8 owners the short end of the stick and said “No Gemini Nano for you!”? Well, amidst justified fan outrage, it looks like someone at Google HQ might’ve listening. The company is now reversing course and has announced that the next Pixel Feature Drop will indeed bring a developer preview of Gemini Nano to the Pixel 8 lineup.

Google is seemingly being very cautious about bringing these features to the smaller Pixel 8. The company also appears to be agreeing with the assumption that the reason the Pixel 8 was left out of the loop in the first place was its lack of RAM when compared to the Pixel 8 Pro (8GB vs. 12GB). This was a theory that many initially speculated, as there was no clear reason given by Google as to why the smaller device couldn’t support the same features as the larger.

To that extent, Google is issuing what appears to be subtle warnings that this is a test and only a test to see how it goes. In a statement to the media, Google said:

We’ve seen a lot of excitement from users and developers since Pixel 8 Pro became the first smartphone to get Gemini Nano last year. Running large language models on phones with different memory specs can deliver different user experiences, so we have been testing and validating this on Pixel 8. We’re excited to provide the opportunity for more enthusiasts and developers to try out Gemini Nano, where we hope to get more feedback and see more innovation.

Additionally, Seang Chau, Google’s VP of Devices & Services Software, addressed this in the newest episode of the “Made by Google Podcast” by stating the below:

So the plan is that we would also make Gemini Nano available on Pixel 8 behind a developer option. So that developers, who know exactly what the impact to their user experience would be, are able to use this feature. And of course, any users that also understand the potential impact to the user experience are also able to use this feature. We’re still doing system health validations, because even if you’re a developer you might still want to use your phone on a daily basis, but we’re planning on getting it out by the next feature drop.

So, there you have it. I suppose we can dub the version of Gemino Nano that will come to the Pixel 8 as “Nano-Lite”? But in all seriousness, this is still great news for Pixel 8 owners and Pixel owners in general, who were not happy with Google’s decision to keep the mobile version of Google’s LLM exclusive to its newest flagship. As a Pixel owner myself, I had the same feelings about AI features such as “Circle to Search” being excluded from the Pixel Fold (a device I own), which Google is also backtracking on.

Johanna ‘Jojo the Techie’ is a skilled mobile technology expert with over 15 years of hands-on experience, specializing in the Google ecosystem and Pixel devices. Known for her user-friendly approach, she leverages her vast tech support background to provide accessible and insightful coverage on latest technology trends. As a recognized thought leader and official member of #TeamPixel, Johanna ensures she stays at the forefront of Google services and products, making her a reliable source for all things Pixel and ChromeOS.

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