There were hints that Google was developing face unlock just before and after the Pixel 6 Pro’s debut last year. This is the most recent information we have on the situation, so obviously it has not launched.
Google used specialized hardware (IR cameras, dot projectors, and flood illuminators) on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL that worked in conjunction with Soli radar to turn on the face unlock sensors as soon as you reach for your phone. This aided in accelerating the process, although it was only used for one generation.
In a year where Google’s phones were back to basics, the Pixel 5 did not have Soli or face unlock, but the Pixel 6 series was a great opportunity to go all out.
PLANS FOR PIXEL 6 PRO FACE UNLOCK The Pixel 6 Pro would have Face and Fingerprint Unlock, according to a marketing text leak that occurred shortly before the device’s introduction, but there was never any indication that the Pixel 6 will have Soli. A Play Store listing for the Pixels Security Hub that displayed the exact same screen and mentioned face unlock served as more confirmation of this. A few days later, Google changed that screenshot with the version that was truly available on shipping phones.
We stated in April that face unlock would be a launch feature for the Pixel 6 Pro. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the functionality was removed quite soon after launch. Additionally, we discovered that the $599 Pixel 6 was never intended to use the feature, just the more expensive variant.
This difference may be the result of the front-facing cameras of the two phones being different (11.1 vs. 8MP, 94 vs. 84-degree FOV, /2.2 vs. /2.0, and 1.22 vs. 1.12m pixel width) on the premium phone. Most significantly, when compared to the Pixel 6s IMX355, the Pixel 6 Pros Sony IMX663 offers dual-pixel auto-focus (DPAF).
Since the Pixel 2’s usage of DPAF to create depth maps for Portrait Mode, Google has continued to refine its strategy (using ML and more cameras ). Additionally, the business offers depth-from-motion algorithms that only require a single RGB camera, and Tensor is credited with enabling quicker, more precise, and power-efficient face detection in photography scenarios. There is no doubt that Google has the necessary hardware and software for face unlock.
WHERE IS GOOGLE RIGHT NOW Face unlock has not been made available on Android 12’s final (June) Feature Drop since our April report. However, our Insight team discovered an underlying change FACE UNLOCK BOOST that is unique to the Pixel 6 series, which would improve the CPU’s performance for a brief period of time while face unlock is engaged to ostensibly speed up processing. It was merged for the June security patch and ought to be operational by then.
According to the most recent information we have, Google is still developing face unlock for next Pixel phones. It hasn’t released on the Pixel 6 Pro for a variety of reasons, including accuracy and battery issues.
Now that the Pixel 7 series is approaching, it makes sense that Google would want to introduce a significant feature that embodies its competence in cameras and ML at that time. Having said that, we previously discovered during the launch of the Pixel 6 Pro last year that the firm explored introducing it with a Feature Drop.
This begs the issue of whether Google would implement face unlock on the Pixel 6 Pro when the Pixel 7 was released. The electronics in more recent phones might enable the capability to function more effectively, but the 6 Pro appears to have all the required parts in place. Existing owners would unquestionably desire it.
This post was co-written by Kyle Bradshaw and Dylan Roussel .
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