When Google releases the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro next year, it wants to introduce you to someone: Pixie. That's the name Google has reportedly chosen for its next generation digital assistant, which it intends to keep exclusive to the Pixel.
Pixie will be powered by Gemini Nano, the AI model Google made for mobile devices. Nano is already in the Pixel 8 Pro to power its Summarise In Recorder and Smart Reply features, and Google said that the plan was to use Gemini to enhance what the Google Assistant with Bard could do in future devices. That still appears to be the plan, but Google appears to be taking a different road for its own devices compared to Android more widely.
According to The Information [paywall], Pixie – which may be a code name rather than the name the feature will have at launch – will be Pixel-exclusive and could make its debut as early as 2024 with the Pixel 9; it will offer similar features to Google Assistant but will have its own special features that differentiate it from Google's other AI platform.
What will Google Pixie do?
According to the report, Pixie will take data from your phone's Google apps such as Maps and Gmail to create a more personalised version of Google Assistant. It will perform "complex and multimodal tasks"; one of the examples given is that when you take a photo of a particular product, Pixie will suggest directions to the nearest shop where you can buy it. The official line is that this will be a "digital sidekick" rather than yet another avenue for marketers to try and make you buy things.
The goal with Pixie is clearly to differentiate the Pixel range from other Androids: where Google Assistant with Bard is expected to be on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S24 range and possibly other Android flagships later, Google intends to keep Pixie separate and specific to its own hardware – so while Android will deliver a good Google Assistant, Pixel phones will deliver an even better one.
Pixie is still in development, but if it's coming on the Pixel 9 then it should launch in late 2024.