Pixel 8a’s First Software Update Includes AI Wallpaper Generator

To access this feature on the Pixel 8a, users can simply tap on an empty spot on the home screen, select “Wallpaper & Style,” then “More Wallpapers,” and choose “AI Wallpaper” near the top of the display. A combination of cloud-based processing and native processing via the Tensor G3 would then handle the load of the AI feature to serve its purpose.

No More Feature-based Product Distinctions?

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Image: Google

While a very nifty addition, and a very welcome one given the intended lower-tier of the Pixel 8a compared to its more premium variants, the implementation did strike us as quite odd. Because this further blurs the lines between Google’s Pixel A-series and flagship Pixel models. Outside universal implementation, the move does make double sense given that the Pixel 8a is also using the same Tensor G3 SoC, and therefore should have the same combined online-plus-local way of processing AI tasks.

Besides, as OpenAI often champions, making services available for more users means more data to be fed into the monstrous neural machine. So I suppose it is a win-win for both sides, featured-based product-tier distinctions be damned.

Pixel 8a Launch Recap

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Image: Google

The Pixel 8a was officially released on May 7th. As a mid-range device, it aims to offer many of the same features as its flagship counterparts, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, at a more affordable price point.

In fact, at around half the cost of a Pixel 8 Pro, the Pixel 8a boasts an impressive array of specs, keeping the same Tensor G3 chipset, maintaining its 120Hz refresh rate for its smaller OLED screen, and even providing the practically sensible 8GB of RAM, although it is stuck at 128GB and 256GB storage variants.

The “inferior” dual-camera setup isn’t exactly a slouch either, comprising a 64MP primary camera and a 13MP ultra-wide camera, while the front-facing camera is a 13MP sensor.

Gimmick or Grounded?

Google’s introduction of the AI-powered wallpaper generator to the Pixel 8a in its first software update is, from our perspective at least, a clear attempt to remove feature-based restrictions on lower-end Pixel devices. While this move may be seen as a clever ploy to make the Pixel 8a more appealing, it may feel like a letdown for the premium hunters, who might have wanted something more than the traditional hardware and heft upgrades of typical flagship variants.

Nonetheless, Google deserves credit for its efforts to make AI more accessible, even if the ultimate objective for doing so is still completely in its favor.

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