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The Pixel 8a's first update will bring Google's AI wallpaper generator

Google’s generative AI wallpaper app will roll out to the Pixel 8a in its first software update.

Published onMay 8, 2024

google pixel 8 pro ai wallpaper 2
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  • The Pixel 8a will get access to Google’s AI wallpaper app, which is currently exclusive to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.
  • Google’s AI wallpaper app will arrive in the phone’s first software update.
  • The app uses a generative AI model to create entirely new wallpapers.

Yesterday, Google surprised the tech world by announcing its new Pixel 8a smartphone a week before its upcoming I/O event. The Pixel 8a bears a lot of similarities to the Pixel 8, from its seven years of software updates to its slew of Google AI features. One AI feature that’s currently exclusive to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, though, is Google’s AI wallpaper generator. That feature is coming to the cheaper Pixel 8a, however.

After announcing its AI wallpaper generator at last year’s I/O event, Google debuted the app on its Pixel 8 series released last fall. The app uses the power of generative AI to create completely new wallpapers based on certain themes and keywords.

Since AI image creation requires so much computing power, Google’s AI wallpaper app doesn’t actually generate images on-device. Instead, it offloads the image creation to Google’s cloud servers. Because the actual image generation is handled in the cloud, there’s technically nothing preventing the app from running on devices other than the Pixel 8 series. For product marketing reasons, though, Google decided to make the app exclusive to its flagship Pixel 8 lineup, though it has provided a customized version of it to Samsung for its Galaxy S24 series.

The same AI wallpaper app that’s available on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will be available on the Pixel 8a, though perhaps not with the device’s launch firmware. When Google gave select tech reviewers a demo of the Pixel 8a, it preloaded the device with an Android 14-based software release that had a build number of UD2A.231020.001.

This is not, however, the latest version of the software that’s available for the Pixel 8a. According to a page published by Verizon, the Pixel 8a has a software update available for it that brings the device to version UD2A.240505.001.B1. This update will not only bring the latest May 2024 Android security patch level to the Pixel 8a but also bring Google’s AI wallpaper feature.

chrome 2024 05 08 15 12 2841
Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

Once this software update rolls out to the Pixel 8a, users will be able to access the AI wallpaper maker by tapping and holding an empty space on their home screen, selecting Wallpaper & style, tapping on More wallpapers, and then picking AI wallpaper at the top.

It’s good to see Google bring its AI wallpaper maker to a mid-range device like the Pixel 8a. Hopefully, it will roll the app out to other Tensor-powered Pixels in a future update because it’s one of Google’s coolest new features alongside Circle to Search.

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