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Android Smartphones Try — and Fail — to Mimic Face ID (Report)

If you were planning to buy an Android device this year with technology that can mimic Apple's Face ID scanner, you might be disappointed.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Several Android handset makers are exploring the possibility of offering Face ID alternatives, but many of them are having trouble with the associated costs and technology, Digitimes is reports. Digitimes cites people who claim to have knowledge of FaceID's development process. The bottom line is that few, if any, Android smartphones will launch in the first half of the year with 3D face-scanning features.

Last year, Apple unveiled the iPhone X with a Face ID scanner: the first Apple handset to come with that feature. Apple's Face ID is a 3D scanner that is far more accurate and less likely to be duped than 2D face scanners, like those found in Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. Since then, Apple has touted its own facial scanner and gone out of its way to highlight the differences.

In response, rumors have swirled that Android handset makers, including Samsung, have been working on 3D scanners for their 2018 flagship phones. Some phone enthusiasts had hoped that the Galaxy S9 (which Samsung plans to unveil next month at Mobile World Congress) could deliver the feature. If the Digitimes report is to be believed, however, that might not happen.

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According to the Digitimes sources, Qualcomm partnered with Himax Technologies and Truly Opto-Electronics to develop 3D sensing. But at least some of the Android vendors that have seen it are not willing to bundle it in their handsets, due to high costs and apparent technological limitations.

Whether those companies will opt for the same 2D scanners in Samsung's other devices, or ditch the face scanner altogether, is unknown.

The sources Digitimes cited didn't say which companies would be affected by these apparent problems in the 3D scanners, but they said that it could take some time for more vendors to catch up to Apple and Face ID.

We'll see for sure how much of a problem it is next month when Samsung unveils the Galaxy S9 with, or without, the scanners.