9to5google Can report today that Google originally planned to launch the Pixel 6 Pro with Face Unlock, but the feature was relatively close to launch.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Google intended to announce the Pixel 6 Pro with Face Unlock support to complement the under-display fingerprint sensor. Capacity was only for the larger flagships and not the smaller Pixel 6, which backs up what we had previously speculated based on the code.
The hardware difference between the two phones is an 11.1MP front camera with a 94-degree “ultra-wide” field of view on the 6 Pro, compared to 8MP and 84 degrees on the $599 Pixel 6. Otherwise, there’s no dedicated hardware (IR camera, dot projector, or flood illuminator) as seen on the Pixel 4 in 2019. There is no such thing as a Soli radar to speed up the unlocking process.
Pixel 4. Per Soli Powered Face Unlock
Google is probably relying solely on what that selfie camera captured to prove that it’s you. It’s always seemed like the more Google-y approach, which is mostly about using software to solve difficult problems. This was also something that was exploited by the Galaxy Nexus powered by Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
We expect remarkable progress in processing and precision over the past 11 years, especially with the presence of dedicated hardware. like a tensor. For example, Google enables its chip to detect faster and more accurate faces – in photographic contexts – thanks to the built-in subsystem, while consuming half the power compared to the Pixel 5.
The relatively last-minute decision to unlock face was reflected in how early and launch-day marketing materials referred to the capability. These included a German print ad (though this was incorrectly claimed to be for the Pixel 6 entry) and a UK carrier launch page showing “Face and Fingerprint Unlocked” in a live image of Android 12’s Security Hub Was. This reference—along with a reference in the Play Store list screenshot—was later removed. Since then, there have been other overdue references to the capability on actual Pixel 6 Pro devices.
A source told us that Google is still working on adding Face Unlock to the Pixel 6 Pro, and it’s targeted for Android’s next major quarterly update, though plans may still change.
If that’s really still the plan, it’s pretty exciting for Google to update the Pixel 6 Pro with a major new feature near the end of its annual product cycle. It will certainly be a welcome addition to existing owners and those who are concerned about the fingerprint scanner. In the meantime, this face unlock method is likely to be a staple on future Pixel devices in the future.
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