Google Pixel 4 could come with Face ID-like tech, secret Android Q work suggests

Google Pixel 4 could come with Face ID-like tech, secret Android Q work suggests
The iPhone X boldly ditched Touch ID for Face ID

Whether or not it will be named after a dessert like all of its forerunners, Android Q is surely right around the corner, seemingly aiming to bring a number of new features and options to the table you’re probably going to love, as well as some that look destined for controversy.

Upon doing additional digging into that recently leaked build of Google’s next big mobile OS version, the folks over at XDA Developers may have discovered arguably the juiciest feature so far rumored to be natively integrated into Android Q.

We’re talking about pre-loaded support for “secure facial recognition hardware”, which may not sound like a big deal if you’re not familiar with the trouble companies like Huawei or Xiaomi had to go through to implement Face ID-style authentication methods on their latest ultra-high-end devices.

If Google indeed plans to finally modernize the rudimentary default Trusted Face functionality on Android, we’re likely to see an onslaught of high-end phones offering better, safer, more reliable facial recognition solutions in the not-too-distant future.

What does this mean for the Pixel 4?


Instead of putting that fugly Pixel 3 XL notch to some good use, Google settled for mounting a conventional fingerprint scanner on the back of the 6-incher, as well as its “bezelicious” 5.5-inch sibling.

Even that aforementioned Trusted Face feature was removed from stock Android Pie, so there’s literally no way (secure or insecure, good or bad) to use your mug to unlock the Pixel 3 or 3 XL.


Meanwhile, the vast majority of today’s Android flagships, as well as an increasing number of mid-rangers, come with 2D facial recognition systems that are generally inaccurate and can be easily tricked using photos and other gimmicks.

According to all the (circumstantial) evidence found in the early Android Q development code, something much more complex is in the works. Something requiring advanced hardware to function properly and authorize not just device unlocks, but app logins and mobile payments as well.

That something is typically known as three-dimensional (3D) face recognition technology, and it stands to reason Google would want to take advantage of this development and pair the new software with the necessary sensors to make secure facial scanning possible on the Pixel 4.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the search giant’s next big in-house hardware project, with existing rumors sounding more like wishful thinking than concrete, reliable information from the inside.

Apple did it first


In case you (somehow) forgot, the divisive iPhone X launched way back in the fall of 2017 with a curious design (that’s pretty much universally accepted nowadays), as well as a bold replacement for the Touch ID sensor.


Using an infrared camera, flood illuminator, and an insane laser dot projector that beams over 30,000 invisible dots onto the user’s face to build every single individual’s unique facial map, the company’s proprietary Face ID technology was like nothing we’d ever seen before.

By no means perfect, it quickly made iPhone X owners forget all about fingerprint recognition, expanding and improving on the XS, XS Max, and XR.

At long last, it looks like Google will at least lay the software groundwork for a much smoother integration of 3D sensing hardware platforms that everyone from Samsung to Sony is apparently working on.

But Google and its Android smartphone-making partners might still be a couple of steps behind Apple, which is unsurprisingly working on making Face ID even better on the 2019 iPhone generation. How? By using time-of-flight camera technology similar to what Vivo showcased a while back. That’s something the 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 variant may also adopt before Google makes advanced facial recognition standard for Android devices.

FEATURED VIDEO

32 Comments

1. BuffaloSouce unregistered

I'd be fine with it as long as they also includ the rear FPS or else I may keep hold of my 3 for a while longer

2. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

They already have two cameras in the Pixel 3's, so I wouldn't be surprised if the software came to that model as well. Remember Google has extensive history with their Project Tango. That used multiple cameras, or 3 cameras to be exact. So now they might be using two cameras to generate a 3D point map of an object in front of those cameras.

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6725; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Tango was definitely a cool project that I was getting hyped about...and then it just disappeared.

9. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Well Tango transformed into ARCore. Which is a watered down version of Tango that only relys on vision. No depth sensors, or IR cameras. That's just it Tango needs the hardware for the accuracy. Customers, and OEMs were not willing to pay extra money to have it on board. That's why both Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore will NEVER have the speed, or accuracy of Tango devices.

21. Vokilam

Posts: 1181; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

If it works as well as it does on my iPhone X - you won’t use/need fp sensor.

3. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 402; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

Why put that Apple did it first when that's untrue. First ones really to do it was Microsoft with the Lumia line up in which you all gave a negative for only having it. The brainwashing is sad.

13. blingblingthing

Posts: 945; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

This is the sad state of tech talk. It's not who did it first, it's did Apple do it any differently?

19. ahmadkun

Posts: 562; Member since: May 02, 2016

Go easy on them, they don't know

25. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

Microsoft is dead on smartphone industry and those tech on Lumias never make it to mainstream, or even impact the market. It's like it doesn't even exist.

28. mikedemoda

Posts: 127; Member since: Mar 19, 2010

you dumb AF, Lumia only had iris recognition and worked kinda awfully, so yeah, even if you don't like to hear the truth, Apple did it first using a 3D scanner for your face

29. RaidR

Posts: 39; Member since: Oct 12, 2018

Thank you for pointing that out. I'm sick and tired of the trash talk about Apple doing it first. It's like hearing Trump talk...LOL!

4. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 595; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Please no. Just stick with FPS.

10. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Google will have multiple options, like they always do. Not just one option like Apple does with their current iPhones.

22. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

How much unlocing options does the Pixel 3 have?

30. RaidR

Posts: 39; Member since: Oct 12, 2018

I don't care how well this feature works, it's a huge security hole that will allow bad actors to force you to unlock your phone against you will. There is feature on the Pixels that allow for emergency lock that deactivates the FP entry and you must enter your PIN which thank God is still protected. You can keep your facial recognition, I will never use it.

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4099; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

3d facial recognition doesn't have any truly unique targets to ensure it's secure...

7. lyndon420

Posts: 6725; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

This is all pointing to a police state mentality. Facebook and who ever else is feeling the heat over current privacy concerns etc blah blah blah, but if they make tech/scanners like this (facial, iris, fingerprint) mandatory...will there be such a thing as 'privacy' in the very near future? Innocent until proven guilty - my ass. Give us your phone first...then we'll tell you if you're guilty or not. Passwords/passcodes are still the best option for unlocking our phones in my opinion.

26. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

If you value yourself that much, why do you even bother to use modern tech, internet, smartphones, etc?

8. monoke

Posts: 1157; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Just when the Vivo Apex is shown with an entire screen fps scanner, the rest seem to be one year behind. Smh. Wish the tech was available for all phones honestly. This facial thing is a rudimentary set up at best.

12. blingblingthing

Posts: 945; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Apple didn't do it first. They took a concept already in play and brought a more secure method. Cameras were always going to get to a higher resolution, same as screens. Tell me which is bigger, the first water proof phone or the one that is rated at the greatest depth?

14. blingblingthing

Posts: 945; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

"iPhone X launched way back in the fall of 2017 with a curious design (that’s pretty much universally accepted nowadays)" Are you talking the notch that was done before or the gesture based navigation that was done before with blackberry?

15. Charlie2k

Posts: 120; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

Just correcting the biased article. 2015 Windows Hello 2016 Microsoft Iris scanner 2017 Apple Face ID

23. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Windows hello and iris scanner don't 3d map ur face. You have no idea what you're talking about.

31. RaidR

Posts: 39; Member since: Oct 12, 2018

That's not the point, the point is facial recognition wasn't established by Apple. Just because it has been revised and upgraded over the years doesn't mean Apple were the first to do so.

32. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Dude, firstly iris scanning isn't facial recognition at all. Do you know what even is an iris? I bet u don't. Secondly, yeah 2d facial recognition is old. But it's just that, 2d. 3d is a lot more difficult to do and Apple was the first to proplerly implement it on a phone. End of convo

24. Eclipse

Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 11, 2019

Im not iFans but i admitted that it was iPhone X "firstly" bring face unlock in proper way. If other company did it why we can't find face unlock wagon before iPhone X launch like now?

27. Vega007

Posts: 75; Member since: May 18, 2017

Iris scanning isn't the same tech as Face ID. Hell, the Galaxy phones had iris scanning before Face ID as well. So much QQ over anything Apple related, my god.

17. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

The level of bias in this article is disgusting.

18. kevin97

Posts: 90; Member since: Mar 01, 2016

Pathetic...

20. ahmadkun

Posts: 562; Member since: May 02, 2016

thanks god that under display FPS appeared in the right time otherwise we will be stuck with Face recognition .. which is fine but FPS is much better for me

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.