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Google Says Running AI on Phones Requires Huge RAM

Google Says Running AI on Phones Requires Huge RAM


Google said running AI models on phones is a huge RAM hog Google wants AI models to be loaded 24/7, so 8GB of RAM might not be enough.

In early March, Google made the announcement that only one of its two latest smartphones, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, would be able to run its latest AI model, called “Google Gemini.” Despite having very similar specs, the smaller Pixel 8 wouldn’t get the new AI model, with the company citing “hardware limitations” as the reason. A few weeks later, the company announced on the Pixel Phone Help forum that the smaller Pixel 8 actually will get Gemini Nano in the next big quarterly Android release, which should happen in June. There’s a catch, though while the Pixel 8 Pro will get Gemini Nano as a user-facing feature, on the Pixel 8, it’s only being released “as a developer option.” That means you’ll be able to turn it on only via the hidden Developer Options menu in the settings, and most people will miss out on it.

Google’s Seang Chau, VP of devices and services software, ex
plained the decision on the company’s in-house “Made by Google” podcast. “The Pixel 8 Pro, having 12GB of RAM, was a perfect place for us to put Gemini Nano on the device and see what we could do,” Chau said. “When we looked at the Pixel 8 as an example, the Pixel 8 has 4GB less memory, and it wasn’t as easy of a call to just say, ‘all right, we’re going to enable it on Pixel 8 as well.'” According to Chau, Google’s trepidation is because the company doesn’t want to “degrade the experience” on the smaller Pixel 8, which only has 8GB of RAM.

Chau went on to describe what it’s like to have a large language model like Gemini Nano on your phone, and it sounds like there are big trade-offs involved. Google wants some of the AI models to be “RAM-resident” so they’re always loaded in memory. One such feature is “smart reply,” which tries to auto-generate text replies

Source: Oman News Agency