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The Galaxy S9 might have an answer for the iPhone X’s Face ID

Published Jan 29th, 2018 6:50AM EST
Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone X
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

We’re less than one month away from the official Galaxy S9 launch, and with each day that goes by we find out more tidbits about the next Galaxy S flagship.

After seeing the first Galaxy S9 press renders leaked late last week, a new report reveals that the Samsung has found a way to fight the iPhone X’s signature feature, Face ID. Spoiler: It’s probably not the way you think.

The Galaxy S9 phones won’t come with front-facing 3D-sensing cameras that make face scanning possible — which is the trick to Face ID’s security. Because the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera is able to read the 3D map of a user’s face, Face ID can’t be fooled with photos, like the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, for example.

But Samsung isn’t quite ready to include 3D sensors into its high-end phones. Instead, the company will do something else with the sensors that are already available on the Galaxy S and Note phones. According to xda-developers, Samsung will unveil an Intelligent Scan feature that combines Face Unlock with Iris Scanner.

Galaxy S8 or Note 8 users will recognize these two biometric unlock features. As their names suggest, one scans the face while the other one scans the iris. Only the latter is secure enough to be used within apps.

Going forward, Samsung is expected to combine these two methods into an Intelligent Scan unlock. The feature was discovered in an unreleased Android Oreo build for the Galaxy Note 8. Per the discovery, Intelligent Scan ““combines face and iris scanning to improve accuracy and security even in low or very bright light.”

A video showing Samsung’s purported help graphic for Intelligent Scan follows below:

Intelligent Scan will apparently use both the Face Unlock and Iris Scanner at the same time to perform an Intelligent Scan.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Intelligent Scan will be made available to older Samsung phones that pack the necessary hardware to perform face and iris scans. But we’ll have to wait for Samsung to formally introduce Intelligent Scan before we get too excited.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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