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Android manufacturers are already working out how to copy the iPhone 8’s best feature

Published Aug 15th, 2017 6:40PM EDT

Compared to previous iPhones, the iPhone 8 will have a variety of brand new features, including a bigger screen at the expense of the home button, wireless charging, and a sophisticated 3D facial recognition system. Of those, the latter is going to be even better and more secure than what’s available on competing smartphones like the Galaxy S8, because Apple will do facial recognition differently. However, you can already expect some of next year’s top Android handsets to copy the iPhone 8 in this regard.

The Galaxy S8’s facial recognition system can be tricked with a photo, which makes it incompatible with features such as wireless payments that require strong security.

Apple’s iPhone 8, meanwhile, will fix that problem by measuring depth with the help of a special infrared sensor. That way, a 2D picture of someone’s face won’t trigger the iPhone’s unlock mechanism.

Qualcomm doesn’t plan to let Apple enjoy this particular exclusivity for too long, CNET explains. The chipmaker, which is currently embroiled in a complicated patent battle with the iPhone maker, announced that its next-gen mobile chip will also use infrared light to measure depth like the iPhone 8.

The new image signal processor (ISP) coming in Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon package will let Android device makers enable facial recognition features on their devices. Furthermore, the technology might be used for AR and VR applications in the future, Qualcomm teases in the following video.

That said, it’s unclear what devices will be the first ones to pack Qualcomm’s new Spectra ISP tech.

But the technology is definitely exciting because it might have one major side-effect: It’ll improve the overall design.

The iPhone 8 is rumored to ditch the Touch ID sensor, which will be replaced by the sophisticated facial recognition system supposed to guard the privacy of users but also protect Apple Pay features. If that proves to be the case, other smartphone makers will probably choose to follow Apple’s decision, at least until display fingerprint sensors are perfected. As a result, we may see more smartphones featuring all-screen designs but not awkwardly positioned fingerprint sensors.

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.