Google Pixel 8 and 8a could soon get a Gemini Nano toggle, but with a catch

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Google’s Gemini AI has been making waves (both positive and negative), but only one version of it, Gemini Nano, harnesses the power of smartphone hardware. Up until now, only the Google Pixel 8 Pro and a few select phones have had Nano support. When the standard Pixel 8 was initially left out, users voiced their displeasure. Google then listened and backtracked, announcing that Nano would indeed come to the Pixel 8 and even the Pixel 8a.There’s a twist, though. Unlike the automatic Nano integration on the Pixel 8 Pro, users of the Pixel 8 and 8a will need to manually enable it through a toggle in developer options. This means most users might miss out on Gemini Nano’s capabilities simply because they won’t know it exists. Recent findings from an APK teardown of Google’s AICore app, as reported by Android Authority, reveal this toggle, suggesting an imminent launch. Interestingly, it could also mean more control for Pixel 8 Pro users, potentially allowing them to disable the feature.The APK teardown reveals two toggles expected to appear in the developer options settings of the Pixel 8 and 8a. One grants AICore full resource access, likely the default choice for most users, while the other specifically enables Nano. While not officially confirmed, it’s assumed these toggles will be off by default, as per previous Google statements.

Credit: Android Authority

This implies a process where Google will announce a Feature Drop for the Pixel 8 and 8a, prompting users to activate developer options and then toggle on Nano support. The presence of this feature in the AICore app raises the possibility that an announcement from Google could be just weeks or even days away.

The discovery of this toggle also has implications for Pixel 8 Pro users. It implies that they might also receive the option to disable Gemini Nano, which is currently impossible as it’s enabled by default. While this might not be a concern for most, giving users more control over features is generally seen as a positive step. Samsung already offers similar control for its AI features through its Galaxy AI interface, although the Pixel’s toggle, buried in developer options, won’t be as user-friendly.

Ultimately, while this update brings powerful AI capabilities to a wider range of Pixel phones, it highlights a curious decision by Google to make it a hidden feature for most users. Only time will tell how this impacts the adoption and utilization of Gemini Nano across the Pixel lineup.


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