According to reports, Xiaomi is working on bringing 3D facial sensing technology to its next big smartphone, the Mi 7.
If this happens, Xiaomi will become the first Android brand to unveil a handset bundled with 3D facial recognition. It shouldn't be confused with face unlock feature.
Currently, only Apple's latest offering, iPhone X makes use of 3D facial sensing or what it calls Face ID.
3D facial sensing technology for Android OEMs developed by Qualcomm
This 3D facial sensing technology for Android OEMs has been jointly developed by Qualcomm, Himax Technologies, and Truly Opto-Electronics.
It is only compatible with Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 845 processor.
This limitation has prevented top brands, which do not want their devices to be powered by the particular chip, from imbibing 3D facial recognition into their phones.
Mi 7 to launch after third quarter of 2018
Earlier, the Mi 7, powered by a Snapdragon 845 chip, was to launch in the first half of 2018, but now the device will come only after the third quarter.
This is because of "a low success rate for facial recognition caused by slow adjustment processes of related software at Qualcomm."
This means Xiaomi will have to wait till the technology is perfected.
Samsung, Huawei also developing 3D facial mapping technologies
Samsung and Huawei are also reportedly developing 3D facial mapping technologies powered by their in-house SoCs, since they don't prefer Qualcomm chips on high-end models.
Samsung's Galaxy S10 could reportedly arrive with an upgraded 3D sensing camera algorithm by 2019.
As for Huawei, it is also working on 3D facial sensing through its in-house HiSilicon Technologies and other third-party corporations.
1 billion smartphones to feature 3D facial recognition by 2020
A recent report by analyst firm Counterpoint claims that by 2020, over 1 billion smartphones will feature 3D facial recognition technology. This means it will no longer be a premium feature and become the default unlocking mechanism in all kinds of smartphones.