Technology

Face Unlock Coming To OnePlus 5 On Popular Demand: Carl Pei

I bought my OnePlus 5 about three months ago. It’s a great phone, but the device has been labeled as “old” since the launch of the OnePlus 5T, which has a bezel-less display and a new Face Unlock feature. The owners of older OnePlus models had asked the company to bring Face Unlock to older models as well. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has now confirmed that the facial recognition feature is coming to OnePlus 5 via a software update.

OnePlus 5 Face Unlock
Image Credit: OnePlus.net (screenshot)

OnePlus 5 users to get Face Unlock feature in the next few weeks

Pei’s announcement has given OnePlus 5 owners including me a reason to hold on to their phones a little longer. The Chinese company introduced Face Unlock on OnePlus 5T in response to Apple’s Face ID on the iPhone X. The feature allows you to unlock your device just by looking at the front camera. Pei did not mention whether the feature would also be coming to the OnePlus 3 and 3T, which seems highly unlikely.

He said the decision to bring Face Unlock to OnePlus 5 was a result of feedback from users. OnePlus’s facial recognition feature has been praised for its incredibly fast speed. It’s faster than Apple’s Face ID. The company can easily expand it to older models because it is based on the front camera and software. In contrast, the iPhone X’s Face ID requires a variety of dedicated sensors for laser projection and depth mapping.

Since it relies on the camera, OnePlus’s facial recognition technology isn’t as secure as the Face ID. It’s more about convenience than security. The feature only allows users to unlock the device, not to authenticate payments or other financial transactions. You’ll still have to use the fingerprint sensor for payments. Carl Pei did not specify when the feature would be coming to the OnePlus 5.

Weeks before Pei’s official announcement, the OnePlus 5 Open Beta 2 software build had indicated that Face Unlock would be coming to the phone. The Android Oreo-based second Open Beta had revealed last month that the facial recognition feature would work even in poorly-lit conditions or when users are wearing glasses. We expect the feature to be rolled out to OnePlus 5 users in the next few weeks.

OnePlus rolls out Android Oreo to OnePlus 5 devices

The company has started rolling out the Android 8.0 Oreo-based OxygenOS 5.0 to OnePlus 5. The update includes the latest December security patch. It brings features like an improved, customizable launcher, UI changes to the camera app, new beauty effects for Portrait Mode, battery optimizations, and a new ‘Places’ tab in the gallery. OnePlus is rolling out the update in a phased manner. You should expect to receive it in the next few days.

The latest software update brings Android Oreo features to the OnePlus 5. They include the new Picture-in-Picture mode, Autofill, notification channels, Smart text selection, among other things. The OnePlus 3 and 3T users had received the Android Oreo update last month. The OnePlus 5T is expected to get the stable version of Android Oreo-based OxygenOS 5.0 in early 2018.

OnePlus has confirmed that its existing smartphones would not support Google’s Project Treble, which makes it faster and easier for vendors to roll out software updates. OnePlus said its current phones lack storage partitioning, which means adding Project Treble to existing phones via a software update could cause the devices to crash. The future OnePlus devices could get the Project Treble support, though.

OnePlus 6 to have an in-display fingerprint reader

The rumor mill claims that OnePlus is planning to launch the OnePlus 6 in the first half of 2018. The new phone is expected to arrive in June at the earliest. It would be powered by Qualcomm’s powerful new Snapdragon 845, which would run most of the flagship phones coming next year. The OnePlus 6 is said to sport a more refined bezel-less OLED display.

The biggest highlight of the OnePlus 6 is said to be an in-display fingerprint reader. Many vendors have been trying to place the fingerprint sensor under the display, but only a few have succeeded. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said earlier that Android vendors would not be able to replicate Apple’s Face ID for at least a couple of years due to its complex technology. In the absence of a highly secure face detection technology, an in-display fingerprint sensor seems to be the best option for OnePlus.

Synaptics announced earlier this month that it had started mass production of its Clear ID FS9500 optical fingerprint sensor for smartphones. Synaptics said it had partnered with one of the world’s top five smartphone vendors to bring the technology to the market next year. BBK Electronics – which owns OnePlus, Oppo, and Vivo brands – is among the world’s top five vendors.