The Galaxy Note7 introduced Samsung’s iris scan technology back in 2016, and it’s been on every Samsung flagship since. On the Galaxy S8, Samsung also added face unlock, but it wasn’t authorized for secure actions like mobile payments. The issue on the S8 and Note8, though, was that you had to pick one unlock method or the other: insecure face unlock (meaning you had to use fingerprint for mobile payments) or secure iris unlock (which is unarguably harder to use).
Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 5 Pro in India last week, which went on sale today for the first time on Flipkart as well as Mi.com and was sold out within minutes. At the launch Xiaomi promised to bring Face unlock that will be available via OTA update by the end of March, but today as a surprise the company rolled out the Face unlock feature for the phone via an OTA update. This is the first Xiaomi smartphone in India to get the feature. [HTML1] At the launch the company said that its face detection algorithm scans facial features in roughly 500ms using a high-accuracy matching mechanism, making it faster than the fingerprint scanner. However Face unlock is not as secured as fingerprints. The MIUI v9.2.4 NEIMIEK update is 1.6GB in size and also brings significant camera improvements and stability optimizations. It is already available for the reviews units, and those who ordered the phone today will get the update as soon as they boot up their phone. To remind you, the Redmi Note 5 Pro sale on Flipkart and Mi.com is scheduled for 28th February, Wednesday at 12 noon. Fone Arena
In the months leading up to the iPhone X unveiling this past September, there were a number of conflicting reports about the overall design of the device. While most everyone agreed that the physical home button was being kicked to the curb in favor of an edgeless display, it wasn’t entirely clear if Apple would replace it with an eye-authentication scheme (Face ID) or if it would embed a Touch ID sensor into the display itself.
When the iPhone X with Face ID was officially introduced, it didn’t take long for a new narrative to emerge, namely that Apple opted for Face ID very late into the development cycle simply because it couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate a fingerprint sensor into an OLED display at scale.
In reality, Apple’s decision to go all-in with Face ID was made well over a year before the iPhone X introduction. The reason, quite simply, is that Apple believed it to be a superior alternative to Touch ID on a number of fronts.
As John Gruber noted a few months back:
There were, of course, early attempts to embed a Touch ID sensor under the display as a Plan B. But Apple became convinced that Face ID was the way to go over a year ago. I heard this yesterday from multiple people at Apple, including engineers who’ve been working on the iPhone X project for a very long time. They stopped pursuing Touch ID under the display not because they couldn’t do it, but because they decided they didn’t need it.
Incidentally, Apple’s design decision with the iPhone X hasn’t stopped other handset makers from trying to develop devices with embedded fingerprint sensors. And while Face ID still has a few kinks to work out, I think it’s fair to say that Apple’s decision to go with Face ID over an embedded version of Touch ID was the way to go.
Case in point: Marques Brownlee recently shared a video of a fingerprint sensor embedded into a display. The technology, which is called Clear ID, comes from Synaptics and is being demoed in a Vivo X20 Plus UD device.
So how does the technology measure up? Well it does seem to work quite well, but there are a few downsides worth noting.
Zalib Ali of iOS Hacker explains:
First it requires the device to have an OLED display otherwise it won’t work. Then the sensor that is placed under the screen is visible at certain angles and lighting conditions.
While seemingly minor, a company as detail-oriented as Apple likely couldn’t bear the thought of a sensor being visible beneath the screen.
Further, Ali cites an excerpt from the video where we learn that for the sensor to work properly, it must first shine a visible pulse of light onto a user’s finger.
It has to be shinning a light on your fingerprint for it to reflect back into the glass and read it. So when I put my finger on the indicator which is basically a helper for guiding my finger to the right place, you see a light shine for a second, a sort of pulse that’s long enough for it to read the reflection of my fingerprint on that sensor.
Are these deal breakers? Not necessarily. But the entire user experience seems a bit more involved than seamlessly picking up an iPhone X and having it authenticate you immediately via Face ID.
Moreover, Face ID is far more reliable and secure than Touch ID. An Apple support document on Face ID reads in part: “The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID).”
Now is it possible that future iterations of the iPhone will at some point incorporate a Touch ID sensor into the display? While it’s certainly possible, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. To this point, Apple executives have said that Face ID will be a cornerstone of the iPhone user experience for quite some time.
Netatmo’s approach to security cameras is refreshing. In a market that’s filled with companies limiting what you can do with the hardware you bought just in order to get you to sign up for a monthly subscription, Netatmo asks only that you purchase its camera. Video storage is free thanks to MicroSD card support as well as optional Dropbox and FTP uploads. Face recognition is free and gets better with time as it learns.
Huawei sub-brand Honor has started pushing out a new update to its Honor 9 Lite smartphone. The OTA update brings along the much requested Face Unlock feature, making the handset the latest Honor smartphone (after the Honor 7X and View 10) to sport it. The roll out has just begun, so it may take time for the update notification to pop up on your unit. Officially, Honor has said the roll out process will complete by early next month – March 5 to be precise. Via