Apple may enjoy its lead in 3D facial sensing for a few more months as it doesn't seem Android phone makers will get the technology till later this year. Xiaomi may, in fact, be one of the first brands to unveil a handset with 3D facial sensing with the launch of Mi 7, if a recent report is to be believed. Xiaomi Mi 7 is the company's next big smartphone and was expected to launch in the first half of 2018, but its plans have been delayed. Apple currently makes use of similar 3D facial sensing (Face ID) on the iPhone X.
Apparently, the 3D face sensing technology compatible with the Mi 7 will reportedly become available in Q3 2018 only. As per a new report by Digitimes, this is because of "a low success rate for facial recognition caused by slow adjustment processes of related software at Qualcomm." This means Xiaomi can do nothing but wait till the chipmaker finds a way to solve the software issue so its Mi 7 handset launches with 3D face sensing tech.
Qualcomm, Himax Technologies, and Truly Opto-Electronics have jointly made the most advanced 3D sensing technology available for Android OEMs, alas it is compatible only with the flagship Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip. This means any brand looking for a chip below flagship grade will not have the option of adding 3D facial sensing to its set of features.
Samsung and Huawei will not be the first OEMs to launch a sophisticated level of 3D facial mapping as their flagship offerings are powered by in-house SoCs, in major parts of the world. Additionally, Samsung Electronics is claimed to bring to the mainstream such a technology on its smartphones until 2019. Last month, reports from South Korea had suggested that Samsung's upcoming S series flagship, Galaxy S10, would arrive with an upgraded 3D sensing camera algorithm.
On the other hand, Chinese giant Huawei has also initiated efforts on the AI and 3D facial sensing fronts through its in-house HiSilicon Technologies and other third-party corporations although its flagship P20 series does not yet have the feature.
The report also claims that Xiaomi's plans to launch its next flagship smartphone - possibly, Mi 7 - with 3D facial sensing and a Snapdragon 845 SoC in the first quarter this year have been delayed. Instead, the smartphone might see an unveiling after the third quarter.
As for a report by Counterpoint recently, the analyst firm claims that over 1 billion smartphones will come with facial recognition technology by 2020, helping it become default unlocking mechanism in smartphones, small or large.