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It’s going to be years before Android can copy the iPhone 8

Published Aug 22nd, 2017 5:03PM EDT
iPhone 8 vs. Android
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

The iPhone 8 won’t only bring fans a massive redesign. It’s also a device that will pioneer various features for Apple, including some tricks that aren’t available on other handsets. A new report says that the competition is nowhere near ready to match a critical iPhone 8 feature, and may be trailing behind for as much as three years.

The iPhone 8 is going to equip 3D sensing technology that can be used both for adding an extra layer of security to facial recognition systems, but also for augmented reality purposes.

Facial recognition systems on competing devices like the Galaxy S8 can be “hacked” with pictures precisely because they lack a 3D depth-sensing sensor. That’s why facial recognition can’t be used to authenticate payments on the Samsung phone. Apple’s solution, meanwhile, will work with Apple Pay, as the new facial recognition system is supposed to replace the Touch ID sensor.

In a new report seen by 9to5Mac, KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo explains that Qualcomm is two years behind Apple when it comes to 3D sensing tech.

Qualcomm-made sensor won’t be making significant shipments until at least 2019 the note says, as Qualcomm is apparently “immature” in software and hardware.

Only a few days ago, Qualcomm announced its own 3D image signal processor that will enable facial recognition features as well as AR and VR features on Android device. That’s likely the technology Kuo refers to in his note to investors. Kuo is already famous for his inside knowledge of iPhone-related details, so it’s likely he’s got genuine information to back up his Qualcomm-related claims.

While Qualcomm and others appear to be playing a waiting game to see what Apple comes up with, the 3D facial recognition technology is going to be a critical iPhone component. It’ll allow Apple to avoid design compromises like placing a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone but also proof its devices for the imminent AR/VR future coming to mobile gadgets.

Chris Smith
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 closely follows the events in 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.