Face unlock was expected to be available when the Pixel 6 Pro launched.


Today, Google can reveal that face unlock was originally going to be a feature of the Pixel 6 Pro, but it was removed rather soon to the device’s release.

Google planned to introduce the Pixel 6 Pro with support for face unlock in addition to the under-display fingerprint sensor, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The ability was solely intended for the larger flagship model, not the smaller Pixel 6, which confirms our earlier coding-based speculation.

The 6 Pro’s 11.1MP front-facing camera has a 94-degree ultrawide field of view, but the $599 Pixel 6’s front-facing camera is 8MP and 84 degrees . This is the hardware difference between the two phones. Other than what was present on the Pixel 4 in 2019, there is no dedicated hardware (IR cameras, dot projectors, or flood illuminators). Nothing can speed up unlocking more quickly than Soli radar.

Face unlocking with Soli on the Pixel 4

In order to verify that you are who you say you are, Google is probably relying only on the selfie camera’s images. This has always felt like the more technologically advanced approach, one that relies heavily on software to solve complex issues. The Galaxy Nexus, which ran Android Ice Cream Sandwich, also made use of it.

In the last 11 years, processing and accuracy improvements should have been noticeable, especially with the development of specialized hardware like Tensor. For instance, Google boasts that its CPU uses half as much power as a Pixel 5 and enables faster, more accurate face detection in photographic scenarios thanks to integrated subsystems.

How early and launch-day marketing material mentioned the feature indicates how last-minute the decision to remove face unlock was. This includes a German print advertisement (though it falsely claimed to be for the entry-level Pixel 6) and a UK carrier launch page that displayed Face and Fingerprint Unlock in a real-time rendering of Android 12’s Security Hub. Later, both that allusion and one found in a screenshot were removed. Since then, there have been more errant mentions of the feature on real Pixel 6 Pro smartphones.

One of the insiders informed us that Google is still working on adding face unlock to the Pixel 6 Pro, and that plans could still change. Plans are now set for the following significant quarterly Android release.

It’s extremely surprising that Google would update the Pixel 6 Pro with a significant new feature so near to the conclusion of its annual product cycle, if that is still the intention. For those who already possess the device and those who still have concerns about the fingerprint reader, it will undoubtedly be a nice feature. In the meanwhile, it’s likely that this way of face unlocking will become standard on all future Pixel devices.

Pixel 6 Pro leak
Pixel 6 face unlock

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