Mysterious Google Coral device dazzles on Geekbench

Ruben Fields
January 26, 2019

Details are still pretty scarce on what Android Q will bring to phones running Google's mobile OS, but it might finally get something iOS users have been bragging about for years: Face ID.

As Google's I/O 2019 developer conference draws closer, leaks surrounding Android's next major update have also picked up the pace. The listing also reveals the device has 6GB of RAM and runs Android Q. The only devices Google could be using to test early Android Q builds would be the existing Pixel 3, the next-gen Pixel 4 phones, or some other unreleased Pixel hardware. Facial recognition will require a backup password, PIN or pattern just like fingerprint authentication. This tells us that Android Q does expect the device to have hardware facial recognition sensors, unlike the face unlock features found on most modern smartphones from companies like Xiaomi, Huawei/Honor, and OnePlus.

Further, XDA says the related code strings aren't present in Android Pie. The code also suggests that something called a "privacy chip" will be visible on the bottom of the screen to alert users when an app is using their location data or sensors like the microphone, while a related setting called "privacy-dialog" will provide more information about the same. While I was able to launch the relevant activity (with adb shell am start -a android.settings.FACE_SETTINGS), the settings page immediately crashes because the build I'm running is missing a necessary HAL.

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Trying to fake it by adding an XML file declaring support for biometric facial recognition in /system/etc/permissions didn't work, either. That feature was part of Google Play Services, not Android.

The $300-off Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL deal that Best Buy kicked off a couple of weeks back is still going this weekend.

What does this mean for Android?

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