At its annual fall hardware event, Google unveiled its latest Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones. But almost overshadowing the devices themselves was Google’s emphasis on evolving AI capabilities powered by its Tensor G3 silicon and on-device processing.
Pixel 8 Series – Iterative Hardware with AI as the Star
Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro showcase typical iterative upgrades like refreshed designs, improved cameras, and updated displays.
Google offering Pixel 8 a 6.2″ FHD+ 120Hz OLED display, 12MP ultrawide and 50MP main rear cameras, and a 4,575 mAh battery starting at $699. The higher-end $999 Pixel 8 Pro bumps up to a 6.7″ QHD+ 120Hz LTPO panel, upgraded 48MP telephoto and ultrawide rear sensors, and a larger 5,050 mAh battery.
But the real focus is on enhanced AI experiences enabled by the new Tensor G3 chip and local on-device processing, Google is betting big that its AI leadership.
Local Processing Powers Privacy-Focused AI Upgrades
In his keynote pitch, Google CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized how on-device computing enables transformative AI capabilities while increasing privacy.
Rather than offloading processing to distant servers, new Pixel-exclusive features like speech recognition, photography tools, and productivity features run fully locally.
Key examples include:
- Improved Magic Eraser editing powered completely on-device for faster speeds and better editing.
- More natural voice dictation without an internet connection using local AI models.
- Faster, smarter Gboard suggestions fueled by local language processing.
- Enhanced audio recognition identifying key sounds for video editing.
- Offline image upscaling in Google Photos by running super resolution models locally.
This local execution minimizes latency while giving users full control over their data. Pichai contrasted this approach with competitors, stating Google’s commitment to privacy-preserving AI.
“Assistant with Bard” Aims to Transform Helpful AI
Looking beyond Pixel, Google revealed an ambitious vision for evolving its Assistant into an AI aide that can understand contexts and complete complex tasks.
Dubbed Assistant with Bard, Google is investing deeply in large language AI models like LaMDA to enable multi-turn conversational interactions. Rather than just answering queries, Assistant aims to take action on your behalf.
Potential capabilities teased include:
- Summarizing key information from across Google services to aid productivity.
- Creating customized project plans by intelligently combing info from different apps.
- Carrying out multi-step online transactions like booking travel or scheduling appointments.
Bard represents a profound expansion of Google’s AI Assistant ambitions. While initially launching in limited alpha, Google ultimately hopes to scale intelligent assistants that interactively accomplish real-world goals rather than just retrieving facts.
On-Device AI Pushes Google’s Competitive Advantage
In the Pixel 8 generation, Google’s silicon and software strengths converge to deliver features rival phone makers can’t easily match.
Heavyweight AI models require specialized hardware like Google’s Tensor G3. And Google’s large datasets and engineering talent make training complex neural networks infeasible for most.
But by executing assists locally rather than the cloud, Google dodges privacy concerns holding some users back from AI adoption. Google aims to show skeptical consumers they can benefit from transformative AI while retaining control.
With on-device processing unlocking new experiences, Google is betting its AI leadership and custom silicon craft a more personalized, helpful future. The Pixel 8 series provides an important showcase of this potential as Google rolls out technology enabling more contextual, secure, and seamless intelligence across its products and services.