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People didn't buy the Pixel 8 for Gemini Nano, but the lack of it is not something to ignore

Our survey reveals what most Pixel 8 buyers think about the lack of Google's on-device Gemini AI on their phones.
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Published onMarch 12, 2024

Google logo boot Pixel 8
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Google revealed last week that it wouldn’t be rolling out Gemini Nano — its on-device AI model — to the vanilla Pixel 8. Understandably, this isn’t an ideal situation for those who chose the cheaper Pixel instead of the Pro. However, our survey shows AI isn’t the biggest reason people bought the standard Pixel 8 — it’s the phone’s size.

The goal of on-device AI models like Gemini Nano is to prevent sensitive user data from leaving the phone as well as offer users the ability to use AI features offline. Google made a big deal about Gemini and its various avatars during the launch of the Pixel 8 series, but as it stands today, Gemini Nano only powers two features on the Pixel 8 Pro: Summarize in Recorder and Smart Reply in Gboard.

This is probably why a majority of our readers, X followers, and YouTube viewers who bought the Pixel 8 aren’t too upset about Google leaving them hanging as far as Gemini Nano support is concerned. When we asked them if they regretted not picking up the Pixel 8 Pro, many voted “No.” From over 6,400 votes that we gathered across our platforms, almost 60% of the respondents said they were happy with their Pixel 8 purchases.

I'll take a smaller phone over AI features.

A common theme that emerged amongst the majority was that they don’t really care about AI features and don’t use them anyway. Many said they picked up the Pixel 8 just for its smaller size. At a time when compact phones are far and few, the Pixel 8 carries an even smaller footprint compared to the Pixel 7.

“I have the Pixel 8 Pro, and I’ve literally never used any of the AI features. And I don’t see myself using any in the future,” an Android Authority reader commented on our poll article.

“I’ll take a smaller phone over AI features,” said another.

“I bought a Pixel 8 and traded in my 7 Pro for it. Wanted a compact device for a change. Pixel 5 was my all-time favorite phone because of its small size and modest capability. AI features mean nothing to me. My next phone will probably be Pixel 10 or Samsung S26 because small phones rock,” resounded one more reader.

While comments on our poll across our website, YouTube, and X are filled with praises for the Pixel 8’s size, we can’t just ignore the other 40% of the voters who have genuine concerns about the future of the device and say that they aren’t happy with their purchase.

Pixel 8: Long-term user worries

Google Pixel 8 back standing upright
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

“I never expected the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro to diverge this far. I thought I was getting a top-tier phone, just in a smaller form factor with minor camera and display concessions. Now the Pixel 8 is being treated as though it’s an 8a, and that pisses me off, especially since I was banking on its 7-year lifespan,” said a reader.

“Considering that Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have the same SoC and main camera, I find the artificial limits that Google imposed on vanilla p8 unacceptable,” said another commenter.

Many of our readers are thinking long-term about how Google will keep its update promise of seven years if the Pixel 8 is already missing out on significant new features like Gemini Nano.

While the on-device AI doesn’t have a big role to play on the Pixel 8 Pro just yet, Google has promised to unlock newer capabilities in the future. Unfortunately, the unknown “hardware limitations” of the Pixel 8, as Google puts it, will keep it from enjoying any of these new and upcoming features.

They are talking about 7 years of support when they can't even support a four-month-old phone.

One of our YouTube subscribers says they are glad they bought the Pixel 8 Pro instead of the Pixel 8. “Hardware limitations, like how? It’s the Tensor G3 chip, and both phones really are the same except the cameras and batteries.”

“They are talking about seven years of software support when they can’t even support a four-month-old phone with new features that’s crazy,” said another subscriber.

Has Google overpromised when it comes to software updates for the Pixel 8? Will we see more feature disparity between the regular vanilla and Pro models in the future? These are questions some of our readers are pondering at the moment, the answers to which will only be revealed with time.