My Pixel 8 Pro AI just got way better (review update)
My Pixel 8 Pro AI just received a ‘feature drop’ that narrows the gap between its AI and Samsung S24 Ultra – after all, both use Google’s DeepMind Gemini Pro Cloud and Gemini Nano on-device processing.
I have not explored every facet yet, but the phone seems subtlety better, smoother and responsive. Note that this relates to the Pixel 8 Pro and its ability to run Gemini Nano on-device. The Pixel 8 uses the same System on a chip but is limited in its Gemini Nano implementation.
A long press of the home button or navigation bar, circle anything on your phone screen, and Google will provide more information about the highlighted content.
Thermometer (US only at present)
The thermometer gains FDA clearance as a medical-grade device that can measure the temperature of a person or object.
Quick Share (was Nearby Share)
It lets you send content to nearby Android, ChromeOS, and Windows devices that support the feature.
Photomoji in Messages
Transform your favourite photos into reactions with the help of on-device Google AI. Select the photo, review the object you’d like to react with and hit send. Your creations will be saved in a special tab for reuse.
Magic Compose in Messages
Use Generative AI to rewrite a message in different styles. You can see the different options, select your favourite and let it make you appear more intelligent.
Audio Switch (Pixel devices only)
Pair Pixel Buds Pro to multiple devices like tablets, phones and watches and quickly switch between them.
These are in addition to already released AI features.
Note that the S24 Ultra uses the Qualcomm SD8 Gen 3 SoC, and the S24/+ use the Samsung Exynos 2400 SoC (similar to the Google Tensor G3).
CyberShack’s view – Pixel 8 Pro AI portends the future
We now have the beginnings of a digital divide – feature/smartphones and AI phones (Motorola trade-marked ThinkPhone, or we might be tempted to use that).
Both brands rightly ask us to look past ‘speeds and feeds’ to what the phone can do for you. It’s a shame, as we do ‘speeds and feeds’ very well and will continue to test over 70 aspects of new phones.
When the Pixel 8/Pro was launched later in 2023, I was a little sceptical that AI would drive AI phone sales. I still don’t think it has all that much traction, but you have to start somewhere.
Why is there no traction?
Because the AI features are nice but not necessary. If you never use live translation or edit photos (the vast majority), then there are better-specified smartphones at half or less the price. Of course, the glossy, slick advertising and marketing will tell you otherwise.
While Google uses Android 14 or later and standard Android productivity apps like phone, messages, contacts, and camera/photos, Samsung has gone down the proprietary rabbit hole, only incorporating AI into its Apps and by using a Samsung account. It’s the same DeepMind Gemini back end but hugely different front ends. Google will win here – as industry standards should.
Perhaps over the next few years, Google will come up with a killer App that may justify AI, but as it and Samsung have stated, we will be paying a subscription to use it – yes, a subscription that Aussies famously hate.
Oh, and it has a new colour.