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Pixel 9 might get a feature just like the iPhone 16’s AI Genmoji

Published Jun 19th, 2024 6:50AM EDT
Google Pixel 8 Software
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Genmoji, the ability to generate custom emojis with the help of AI in iOS 18, will probably be one of the most appreciated features in Apple’s Apple Intelligence suite. However, you’ll need either an iPhone 15 Pro/Max or an iPhone 16 to get Apple Intelligence working on your device. That will be the only way of accessing the Genmoji feature.

Unsurprisingly, Google is developing a similar genAI feature for Android 15. According to a new finding in Android 15 beta 3, it might be called Creative Assistant. Like the Genmoji, the feature might be available only on some devices, the Pixel 9 series. However, Google could always make it work on other devices, including older Pixel phones.

Android Authority’s Mishaal Rahman found references to an app or feature called Creative Assistant in Android 15 beta 3.

Creative Assistant isn’t available in Android 15 beta 3, so you can’t get it working. But the package name associated with it suggests we’re looking at an exclusive Pixel feature. References for Creative Assistant appear in two places, including a binary related to the TPU in the Tensor chip and the Google Markup app.

The latter is an app that lets you edit screenshots and add photo annotations. It would make sense for Creative Assistant to work with Markup. And that’s where things get interesting. The Markup code teases that you can “save sticker” and indicates it looks for the Creative Assistant app and associated permission to work.

Generating emoji with Apple Intelligence on iPhone.
Generating emoji with Apple Intelligence on iPhone. Image source: Apple Inc.

Furthermore, Rahman discovered code in the Markup app that indicates a “remix” button is coming in Android 15. The button will launch an activity in Creative Assitant. You might be able to generate a sticker or emoji and add it to the screenshot or image you’re editing. You can force that button to appear in Markup on Android 15 beta, but it won’t do anything for now.

Similar functionality might be available in other apps. Creative Assistant would certainly work well in the Messages app if Google plans to let you use AI on the Pixel 9 to generate stickers and emojis on the fly. I assume that would be the case, considering the existence of Apple’s Genmoji feature.

A Pixel 9 benchmark leak also surfaced some specs earlier this week, indicating that the Pixel 9 Pro XL will feature 16GB of RAM. I said at the time that Google might be upgrading the memory of its Pixels so it can handle more complex on-device AI features. I didn’t necessarily think about genAI stickers and emojis, but they’d likely be part of that.

It’s unclear at this time what Android devices will get the Creative Assistant app. If the feature makes it into Android 15, I’d expect it to be a Gemini Nano-powered genAI feature that works on-device. Also, Google might initially restrict the feature to Pixel 9 phones to give them a competitive advantage during the launch window.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.