Next Android Version May Support Facial Recognition Hardware

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Future versions of the Android operating system are likely to include native support for facial recognition hardware, a new commit on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) reveals. While most of the new mobile devices launched recently already allow users to unlock their phones using some sort of facial recognition system, these are being done using software solutions. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, unveiled during the Mobile World Congress held recently in Barcelona, features the Intelligent Scan, which basically combines the capabilities of iris scanning, facial recognition, and deep learning algorithms to recognize the owner of the device. The artificial intelligence (AI) component of the software solution, in particular, works to determine the kind of authentication method or a combination thereof works best by gauging the lighting condition.

With the likely built-in support for iris scanner, however, the next-generation Android is supposed to speed up the way devices recognize the facial traits of a user by taking advantage of a specialized hardware. It remains to be seen how such a custom hardware will be able to manage facial recognition tasks, though it is possible that an interface will be developed for the native management of facial recognition in a device and enable phone manufacturers to equip their devices with an appropriate hardware. That means it is possible that a much faster face unlock feature may be coming to future Android devices as there will then be a dedicated hardware component for the specialized processing of such a security solution.

While the face authentication manager java interface is supposedly still in an early stage of development, it is hard to rule out the possibility that it will eventually make it into production as interest in native hardware support for biometrics, facial recognition in particular, among original equipment manufacturers is only growing. Additionally, the Chinese government has begun to expand its use of AI-enabled facial recognition technology for various applications such as equipping police around Beijing with smart glasses built to quickly identify crime suspects. OEMs in China have also been squeezing the software-based facial recognition tech into their devices such as the OPPO A75 and OPPO A75s, among others.