No one expected the new iPhone X to come with the exclusive Face ID unlock feature, which is the only biometric unlocking feature that Apple is confident cannot be fooled. While the world is still in awe of the accuracy and technology, we might just get to see more of it in the more mainstream phones produced by none other than brands like OPPO ad Xiaomi soon enough.
In the natural order of things, as most flagships come with high-standard specs, they fall down to the budget segment soon enough, making those features part of the standard arsenal of features that even the most basic smartphones will come with nowadays. We have already seen fingerprint scanners, dual-cameras, curved screens and bezel-less designs make their way to budget smartphones, so the idea of Face ID-like unlocking on cheaper phones seems to be the next big thing to be adopted on smaller handsets.
Currently, the iPhone X is the only device to do this properly, using an array of sensors that map out the user’s face such as infrared sensors and depth-sensing technology to map out the face of the user. While the only other use for those features have been implemented in Animoji, fans will be hard-pressed to expect other more practical uses of the technology. Hopefully Android’s implementation of the system will go beyond Apple’s vision.
The new sensors for face mapping that are supposed to come on the new OPPO and Xiaomi phones will be made through a partnership between Himax Technologies and Qualcomm. The technology will come to fruition sometime in 2018, which also means that some of the bigger releases from the two smartphone manufacturers will likely be pushed back until the tech becomes officially available. Even Huawei is bringing its own 3D sensors with Sunny Optical Technology on its phones, but when it will release them is yet to be seen.
The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus smartphones are also rumoured to come with new 3D depth sensors on the front of the phones to perform facial recognition. Once again, Apple will have created a new trend in the smartphone space, with the competition rushing to implement the same on their devices. Whether the experience will be the same, however, is something we will have to wait and see. To put things in perspective, Android has always had facial recognition in its phones for unlocking the device over the last couple of years, but the implementation was just via software and the reliability was not as robust as what we could see on the iPhone X. With 3D scanning, we might get to use it as a daily driver. Until then, the trusty fingerprint scanner will our best bet for unlocking Android devices.