Xiaomi Mi 7 delayed to Q3 because of 3D facial recognition technology
3D facial scanning sensors haven’t made their way to Android smartphones yet. It should be noted that this doesn’t mean that face unlock isn’t found in Android phones. In fact, device makers such as OnePlus and Honor have improved upon Android’s default face unlock feature with their own implementations. Face unlock on phones such as the OnePlus 5T and the Honor View 10 is incredibly fast, but the downside is that it isn’t said to be secure, unlike a fingerprint sensor.
This is where 3D facial recognition sensors come in. In November, Digitimes reported that many Android smartphone vendors would adopt 3D facial scanning technology in 2018. However, a new report by the publication states that the world’s first Android-based smartphone with 3D facial recognition technology will be a new high-end Xiaomi phone, generally believed to be the Xiaomi Mi 7. However, it’s unlikely to launch until Q3 2018 due to insufficient capability to integrate related hardware and software at 3D sensing providers.
A 3D sensing module jointly developed by Qualcomm, Himax Technologies and Truly Opto-electronics is believed to be the most mature 3D sensing solution currently available in the market, but the limit of using only Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip is said to have deterred the top five Android smartphone vendors from using this module for their high-end smartphones, with the exception of Xiaomi.
Digitimes states that Samsung and Huawei “obviously do not want to use Qualcomm’s chips on their high-end models” (although it’s worth noting that Samsung uses the Snapdragon 845 in the Snapdragon variant of the Galaxy S9 and S9+). Instead, both companies plan to develop their own 3D algorithms. This means that according to Digitimes Research, the two vendors won’t be the first Android device makers to launch phones with 3D sensing technology.
Samsung is said to be “unlikely” to launch smartphones with 3D sensing until 2019 for the sake of using its own AI chips while controlling algorithms by itself. Huawei, on the other hand, has gathered its internal labs, HiSilicon Technologies, and third-party developers to develop related algorithms and other solutions to integrate hardware and software products. However, it has yet to include 3D sensors into its latest flagship phones such as the P20 series.
Interestingly, the report states that Xiaomi originally planned to launch a high-end phone which will be powered by Snapdragon 845 and which will have 3D sensing in the first half of 2018. This is believed to be the Xiaomi Mi 7. However, such a plan “is likely to be delayed to the third quarter of 2018” due to a low success rate for facial recognition, which is caused by slow adjustment processes of related software at Qualcomm, according to Digitimes.
Previously, we have exclusively reported on the Xiaomi Mi 7’s specifications. The device’s code-name is dipper, although a dipperold code-name exists as well. We expect to learn more about the device in the coming weeks.