Facial recognition: Android chases after Apple

Facial recognition: Android chases after Apple

The iPhone X has yet to hit the market, so nobody knows how well Face ID actually works. However, buzz around 3D facial recognition is making the vast majority of Android manufacturers nervous. This is only to be expected, given what we know about how the industry works.

As the experts at KGI have found out, face recognition using special 3D sensors is the current hot topic of the smartphone industry. According to the survey, since the presentation of the iPhone X, the search queries for the new 3D sensors used for face recognition have tripled. At the same time, interest in the "traditional" fingerprint sensor - which has only been used in smartphones for four years - is also declining rapidly.

It was obvious at the time of the presentation how this would go. It's the same old story. The face recognition technology that - remember - has been available on smartphones for years, is presented by Apple and will then be adopted by the Android manufacturers. Like the fingerprint sensor, face recognition will be seen on an increasing number of Android smartphones in the coming months. That's not very creative, but companies feel that their hands are forced by Apple's market power and popularity.

Technology has got to be fun

By the way, Face ID is not just about facial recognition. The Animojis introduced by Apple with the new iPhones may seem silly at first, but they show that the technology can also be used for a lot of other things, even if it's something silly-sounding like animated animal faces with their own facial expressions. Let's face it: if a technology does not promise the masses a bit of fun, then it won't make a splash in the market.

apple iphone x 07
The technology should also be fun, like with Animojis. / © Apple

However, there is another side to this story: the unfulfilled hope of a breakthrough in some technologies, such as the "under-display" optical fingerprint sensor. The Galaxy S8 was already supposed have a sensor like this, but the engineers couldn't implement it in time for release. As a result, Samsung users have to contort their fingers in search of the poorly placed sensor on the back - a lazy compromise. Similarly, Apple wanted to include a under-display fingerprint sensor in the iPhone X in order to offer an alternative to Face ID, but also ran out of time before their release deadline.

You won't get anywhere without OLEDs

Such newfangled fingerprint sensors would probably not be available for the mass of consumers anyway, as the technology can only be used with OLED panels. This makes it difficult to provide mass-produced solutions outside of expensive, high-end smartphones, especially as Samsung enjoys a very dominant position in this area.

But fingerprint authentication, OLEDs displays, only serve to demonstrate once again what has always been reliable in the past: Apple doesn't set any technical records on paper, but it sets the actual market trends. No matter what the Android competition does, if Apple starts off in one direction, then the others are compelled to follow.

Apple is technically ahead this time

This will not necessarily change if Samsung succeeds in actually getting the under-display fingerprint sensor to debut on Galaxy Note 9 for the first time, as a report by Business Insider suggests. It seems that facial recognition in the Samsung devices is much less advanced and less secure than in Apple. Business Insider states that Apple has an advantage of 18 to 30 months over Samsung when it comes to facial authentication. The new fingerprint sensor would thus only be a transitional solution until Samsung can catch up to Apple's solution - which was also the case with the introduction of Touch ID.

It's going to work like this: Samsung does it first, then Apple will make it better later, and only then does everyone else have to have it.

What do you think? Does the Android competition really have to follow every Apple trend? Or would a little more self-confidence do good here?


Source: MacRumors


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  • ljhaye Oct 14, 2017 Link to comment

    Unfortunately this will continue this bizarre trend of Android OEMs following Apple's user hostile moves. The headphone jack removal is gain steam next will be the loss of the fingerprint sensor more something far more awkward. Until Android decides to truly differentiate itself and pivot from Apple's wake Android will continue to be perceived as an iOS clone... sigh

    • Brittany McGhee Oct 16, 2017 Link to comment

      Those who don't want to use facial recognition will have to result to PIN codes to lock their phones once fingerprint scanners disappear. Definitely not user friendly.

  • Dazzler Oct 12, 2017 Link to comment

    Who cares about face unlock, even the apple guy on stage couldn't get it to work! It's a useless gimmick, give me a fingerprint scanner instead anyday.

    Samsung has face scanning in the S8, plus a fingerprint scanner, and in a phone that costs 25% less than apple's!

    • Bastian Siewers Oct 12, 2017 Link to comment

      Hi! You can not really compare the tech Samsung is using for it to Apple's way of handling it. And that it didn't work on stage has a simple reason: It was bad preparation as the phone was not unlocked before after the last reboot. That behavior is absolutely normal and can also be seen on Android phones.

  • Ivan Jensen Oct 11, 2017 Link to comment

    Apple sheeps...

    • Bastian Siewers Oct 11, 2017 Link to comment

      Would you mind elaborating on that? The technology that Apple uses seems to be ahead of the competition, so that has nothing to with "fanboyism" ;)

      • itprolonden Oct 13, 2017 Link to comment

        Depends on what the technology is.

  • James Mote Oct 11, 2017 Link to comment

    How can facial recognition be secure? Any mugger, FBI agent or your partner while you are sleeping, just needs to point your phone at you to unlock it.

    • Nicholas Montegriffo Oct 11, 2017 Link to comment

      At least they have to attempt to unlock it in your presence, which severely limits the range at which it can be done....unless...well, the term 'hacker' might become more literal when you'll need a collection of severed heads and fingers, too.

      • James Mote Oct 11, 2017 Link to comment

        I think Apple fanboys would be having a very different conversation if Samsung had gone all in on facial recognition and Apple had come up with the far more secure iris scanner

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