iPhone 8 3D sensing facial recognition tech 'two years ahead' of Android rivals

Oliver Cragg
Android Google I/O 2017

Do not expect to see one of the upcoming iPhone 8's marquee features on an Android smartphone any time soon. The 3D sensing technology powering Apple's anniversary iPhone's new facial recognition system is around two years ahead of the equivalent tech for Android devices.

According to renowned industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Qualcomm, the company spearheading the next-gen tech, is lagging behind with the relevant software and hardware requirements in a situation that could stall any plans for advanced security on a possible future wave of Android flagships.

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Kuo notes that major shipments could begin as late as 2019, which would give Apple a chance to capitalise if its mooted iPhone 8 feature – which could replace its 3D Touch fingerprint sensor entirely – proves popular with smartphone buyers.

On the whole, Kuo's KGI report paints the "Android camp" as being on the fence with regard to the technology, with the Android elite like Samsung, LG, Huawei, and even Google itself all waiting to see if Apple's 3D sensing tech will offer an "innovative user experience" worth investing in.

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At present, Xiaomi is the only potential early adopter, with the Chinese manufacturer's 2018 flagship possibly sporting Qualcomm's tech. Kuo notes, however, that even Xiaomi could abandon the innovation should it fail to make an impression on iPhone buyers.

"While Qualcomm is the most engaged company in the R&D of 3D sensing for the Android camp, we are conservative as regards progress toward significant shipments and don't see it happening until 2019F," reads the report (via MacRumours).

The equivalent tech expected to debut with Apple's OLED iPhone in the coming months will reportedly take advantage of the iOS phone's front camera, with an infrared module performing 3D sensing duties. The camera, which scans the user's face to unlock the device and even possibly mute notifications at a glance, is allegedly capable of performing a scan within milliseconds.

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