Xiaomi teased a new event in Shenzhen on Tuesday where it is expected to launch the flagship Mi 7 alongside company’s 8th anniversary edition smartphone. The Mi 7 was expected to launch at Mobile World Congress in February but the company reportedly delayed it due to lack of in-display fingerprint sensors.
The Mi 7 is expected to be Xiaomi’s first smartphone to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor and also a notched display similar to that of iPhone X. Interestingly, the notch is not only there for the purpose of aesthetics but will house advanced 3D depth sensing camera. A leaked image from Weibo reveals the camera setup that will be hidden within the notch and yes, it looks similar to the TrueDepth camera found on iPhone X.
The leaked image shows that Xiaomi’s Face ID implementation will also use a dot projector and an infrared camera similar to that of iPhone X. The setup will enable Mi 7 users to unlock their device with their face. Since Xiaomi is using additional image sensors, the face unlock mechanism could be safer than unlocking the device using front camera alone.
Analysts expect that Android smartphone makers will not be able to replicate the full features of Apple’s Face ID until early 2019. The Mi 7 might debunk that belief with its own Face ID-style facial recognition technology. This leaked image also sheds light into the reason behind a rather large notch on the leaked images of Xiaomi Mi 7.
Almost all Android smartphones in the market now feature some kind of face unlock feature to unlock the device. While most smartphones rely on front-facing camera, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Note 8 flagship smartphones use iris scanner. In the case of Mi 7, in addition to proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and the earpiece, we will also see a dot projector, an infrared camera and a selfie camera housed within the notch.
Huawei, another Chinese smartphone maker has also demonstrated that it is working on a Face ID tech, but it is yet to debut the feature on a smartphone. Xiaomi has reportedly struggled to implement the feature on the Mi 7, which could have led to the delay in the release of the smartphone. The Mi 7 could become official later this month or sometime next month.
Watch: Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S First Look Video
If Xiaomi successfully implements the Face ID feature then it will have headstart over other Android smartphone makers. However, the bigger benefit will be to consumers who will have more secure version of facial recognition system on their smartphone.