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Google’s June Pixel update brings Gemini AI to cheaper phones

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Google’s latest feature drop for Pixel devices is a big one for people who want to run its AI tech on cheaper phones, folks who constantly misplace their phones, and photographers who want a little more control.

However, on those slightly lower-specced devices, you will have to go into the developer options to turn it on. In an interview on the Made by Google podcast, Google Devices & Services Software vice president Seang Chau described that toggle as a choice made to restrict it for people who understand the “potential impact to the user experience” of running an AI model on a device with less memory available to power features like Summarize in Recorder and Smart Reply.

Gemini Nano-created summary in the Recorder app.
Image: Google

If you’re using a Pixel 8 Pro or one of the other devices with the Gemini Nano enabled in developer settings, then you’ll also get access to “more detailed, downloadable summaries” of recorded conversations. Other features that are just for the Pixel 8 family in this set of updates include the availability of the Find My Device update that can locate your phone even when it’s off, or the battery is drained for “at least 23 hours” and support for Display Port output via the USB-C jack when you want to see your phone’s interface on a larger screen.

Some features are reaching older and cheaper Pixel phones, too, like a new shortcut in the call log that makes it easy to do a reverse phone number search and try to figure out who was calling in the first place. It will be available on the Pixel Fold, as well as on Pixel 6 and newer phones.

On Pixel 6 and newer devices and the Pixel Fold, there’s support for identifying the “best moment” in a photo in HDR Plus. However, you will need a pricier Pixel to take advantage of the ability to manually select which camera lens you want to use while taking a picture, which will apply to the Pixel Fold, as well as the Pro versions of the Pixel 6, 7, and 8 phones.

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