Google has taken action to ameliorate what is generally considered the biggest problem with its new flagship smartphone. The company has unexpectedly rolled out a software update that appears to be aimed at improving the performance of the Pixel 6’s in-display fingerprint sensor.
While the smartphone has generally been well-received, there have been widespread complaints about the reliability of its biometric authentication system. On Reddit message boards and mobile tech websites, grievances were aired over the fingerprint scanning system’s high number of false rejections, and the slowness of authentication compared to other device’s fingerprint-scanning systems.
The poor performance of the Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor – its first to be implemented under the display – was especially problematic given the absence of a Face Unlock feature on the device. And evidence has been discovered suggesting that Google had in fact planned a facial recognition system for the Pixel 6 that it eventually scrapped for reasons that remain unclear.
Seeking to address the criticisms, Google’s official Twitter account explained last week that the Pixel 6’s fingerprint scanning capability may be hindered somewhat by its “enhanced security algorithms”. It was far from a comprehensive explanation, but it did suggest that the problem could be fixed with a software update.
Now, that fix has arrived – and quite unexpectedly. As DigitalTrends‘ Michael Allison and TechRadar‘s James Peckham have both noted, the update’s rollout is out of sync with Google’s monthly schedule of software updates, suggesting that Google had a sense of urgency in addressing the issue.
Not that the company is being very transparent about it: TechRadar’s Peckham notes that Google did not include a changelog detailing the purpose of the update, and the only explanation that has emerged so far is in a note issued alongside the update for Verizon phones, which explains that the update “improves the performance of your device’s fingerprint sensor”. That having been said, the update only just started rolling out, and an official statement from Google may be forthcoming.