Google's Gemini Nano could launch on the Pixel 8a as early as next month

Google Pixel 8a
(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

Google promised back in March that it would eventually bring Gemini Nano to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a although no one knew exactly when. Until now, that is, as the update may arrive "very soon." 

Android Authority recently did a deep dive into the Pixel 8 series’ AICore app and found a pair of toggle switches inside the settings menu. The second switch is the main focus because flipping it turns on “on-device GenAI features.” Activating the tool presumably allows a Pixel 8 smartphone to harness Gemini Nano in order to power the device’s generative AI capabilities. 

It doesn’t actually say “Nano” in the accompanying text, though; just “Gemini”. However, we believe it is that particular model and not some stripped-down version, after all this is what Google said it would. Plus, the Pixel 8 trio runs on the Tensor G3 chipset and it can support the AI with the right hardware adjustments.

No one knows exactly what the AI will actually do here, though. Gemini Nano on the Pixel 8 Pro powers the phone’s “multimodal capabilities,” including, but not limited to, the Summarize tool in the Record app and Magic Compose in Google Messages.

Imminent launch

The other toggle switch isn’t as noteworthy – a screenshot in the report reveals it enables “AICore Persistent.” This gives applications “permission… to use as many [device] resources as possible”. 

Android Authority states that the sudden appearance of these switches could mean Google is almost ready to “announce Nano support for the Pixel 8/8a ”—maybe within the next couple of days or weeks. The company typically releases major updates for its mobile platforms in June, so we expect to see Gemini roll out to the rest of the Pixel 8 line next month. 

According to the publication, the toggles will likely be found in the Developer Options section of the smartphone’s Settings menu. However, it's important to note that this could change at any time.

Technically-minded users can find the switches by digging around the latest AICore patch. The software is available for download from the Google Play Store; however, your Pixel 8 model may need to be running Android 15 Beta 2.1. 9To5Google, in their coverage, claims to have found the AICore toggles on a Pixel 8 with the beta but not on a phone running Android 14.

As for the Pixel 8 Pro, it's unknown if the high-end model is going to receive the same update although there's a chance it could. Android Authority points out it's currently not possible for Pro users to deactivate Gemini Nano, but this update could give them the option.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best Pixel phones for 2024.

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Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.