Google’s recent Pixel devices have been making waves for their powerful on-device AI. They’re leading the march toward devices with on-device AI with other companies like Qualcomm, Samsung, and MediaTek following suit. Well, if you want one of those AI-powered “Genius-phones” (AI-powered smartphones), it looks like you’ll need some serious memory. According to a report, devices with on-device AI will need a ton of RAM to operate.

Nowadays, a phone with 8GB of RAM is pretty standard for a premium mid-ranger or base-level flagship. 12GB is decidedly flagship-grade and 16GB is reserved for the Pro version of phones mostly. But, what if someone told you that a standard phone with on-device will need 20GB just to operate?

The OnePlus Ace 2 Pro has 24GB of RAM, and companies are testing 32GB of RAM. So, this is looking like specs like those will be considered mid-range if this trend continues.

Phones with on-device AI will need a ton of RAM just to operate

This should come as no surprise; any device performing more advanced functions will need more RAM to function. With on-device AI, phones aren’t only performing their main functions, they’re also thinking.

So, it’s pretty axiomatic, but what’s not is to what extent phones will need more RAM. According to a new post on X via @Tech-reve, the amount of RAM will only go up as companies incorporate more AI into their chips. Looking at the graph, phones that are capable of AI image creation will need around 12GB of RAM to operate. So, we imagine this being reserved for the Pro or Ultra version of phones while their base versions will just miss out.

Macquarie has issued a report on the required RAM capacity to run on-device AI on smartphones, and it’s intriguing.

1) The typical current smartphone is equipped with around 8GB of RAM.
2) On-device AI devices with image generation capabilities require approximately 12GB of RAM.…

— Revegnus (@Tech_Reve) November 13, 2023

At the top, phones with full AI assistants built-in might need a whopping 20GB of RAM just to operate. Phones have access to AI assistants already; we’re talking about Google Assistant, Bixby, Siri, and Alexa. However, those require a connection to the internet to fully reach their potential.

Having a full AI assistant accessible on the device (even if it’s heavily watered down) might require a phone with 20GB of RAM. That’s just for basic functionality. So, if your phone had 24GB of RAM, which still seems like overkill today, your phone would barely have enough left over to run the operating system and apps.

32GB might be enough for a powerful experience with the added AI. That’s more RAM than most computers.

In any case, this isn’t a message from a fortune teller; who knows what optimizations these companies will make in order to cut down on RAM usage? Only time will tell.

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