“An unusually large amount of information has been leaked about the Google Pixel 4, reportedly because a retailer in Hanoi has been selling nearly-finished samples of the device.”
Google is expected to launch its latest flagship smartphone in a matter of weeks, and it looks like the company is going to follow Apple’s lead in ditching fingerprint authentication in favor of facial recognition.
An unusually large amount of information has been leaked about the Google Pixel 4, reportedly because a retailer in Hanoi has been selling nearly-finished samples of the device. Videos have surfaced and been thoroughly analyzed, and it’s now clear that facial recognition will be a major feature of the forthcoming smartphone, and the primary system through which the device is unlocked.
It’s not a huge surprise, given that facial recognition has become a standard feature of contemporary smartphones since Apple introduced its Face ID system in the iPhone X launched in 2017. There were also reports of Google employees handing out $5 gift cards to random people on the street earlier this summer if they were willing to let the staffers train their facial recognition algorithm on their faces with a few pictures from different angles, suggesting that Google has been working to make its facial recognition system particularly robust.
Dropping fingerprint recognition is somewhat more of a surprise. Leaked renders of the Pixel 4 XL posted online in July did show that the device lacked a physical fingerprint sensor, but that prompted speculation about the possibility of Google adopting in-display fingerprint scanning technology, which has been combined with facial recognition in numerous other smartphones over the past several months. But the latest reports based on the Hanoi leaks are suggesting that the Pixel 4 won’t support fingerprint scanning of any kind.
That would make it a pretty clear echo of the latest iPhones, all of rely on facial recognition as their sole biometric modality for user authentication. But it could also date the Pixel 4 very specifically to 2019, given the recent reports indicating that Apple is working on an in-display version of its Touch ID fingerprint scanning system for future iPhones. If that’s true, and so many other smartphone rivals are already supporting both in-display tech and facial recognition, consumers may soon look back and wonder why a couple of the world’s biggest tech brands would ever have put out smartphones featuring only one kind of biometric authentication.