Huawei is bringing facial recognition to its latest smartphone, the Honor View 10.
The device was launched early this year without the feature, but is now getting it via a software update. The system will allow users to unlock their device just by looking at it, and will also show or hide lock screen notifications depending on whether it detects the user’s face.
It’s pretty clear that the feature is a response to Apple’s consequential introduction of face-based authentication on its iPhone X last autumn. In rushing facial recognition to its latest device, Huawei is one of what is likely to be numerous imitators seeking to capitalize on the excitement Apple has generated with its new security feature.
It’s also one of many that will be unable to compete with the sophistication of Face ID; Apple’s technology is based on an infrared scanning system that allows for a highly-detailed, 30,000-point map of a user’s face; most other smartphones aren’t equipped with the hardware needed for this kind of thing – not yet, anyway – and so must rely on software that takes advantage of the 2D imaging that standard smartphone cameras are capable of. As such, the Honor View 10’s facial recognition system can only be used for phone unlocking, and not more sensitive actions like confirming payments.
Nevertheless, Huawei’s new system does operate with some relatively sophisticated AI. In addition to toggling lock screen notifications based on whether the user is looking at the screen, the system is also designed to require the user’s gaze for unlocking, and it can align the screen to the orientation of the user’s face.
The update is currently being rolled out to Honor View 10 users, and should reach everyone’s device by January 24th.