Polar ID vs Face ID: will a compact and cheap Android alternative beat Apple?

Polar ID vs Face ID: will a compact and cheap Android alternative beat Apple?

Android smartphone users are on the brink of a transformative experience with the advent of Polar ID, an innovative and cost-effective alternative to Apple's Face ID. Here's everything you need to know about it.

What id Polar ID and how does it work?

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Metalenz, a startup stemming from a Harvard lab, has joined forces with tech giants Samsung and Qualcomm to bring about a paradigm shift in biometric face identification technology.

Apple's Face ID, renowned for its convenience, security, and speed, has long dominated the landscape. However, its considerable spatial and financial footprint has left Android users seeking a more streamlined and economical solution. Metalenz addressed this need through its partnership, offering a fresh take on facial recognition with the introduction of Polar ID.

Unlike traditional methods, Polar ID adopts a novel approach by directly capturing polarized light reflecting off the user's face, akin to capturing a unique fingerprint. This departure from the conventional dot matrix projection used by Face ID brings forth a more compact, cost-effective, and secure alternative for Android devices. By minimizing components and slashing costs, Polar ID promises to democratize advanced face unlock features for a broader audience.

Recently showcased at MWC 2024, Polar ID demonstrated its resilience to common security pitfalls, showing resistance to being fooled by photographs or 3D masks. The technology leverages metasurfaces, and specialized sensors packing intricate optics into a single 3D surface, enhancing its ability to securely authenticate users. Beyond unlocking devices, Polar ID is poised to explore additional applications, including skin health features and air quality metering.

Metalenz has strategically partnered with Qualcomm to streamline the integration of software and hardware into Snapdragon-based phones. Simultaneously, Samsung has collaborated to embed Polar ID into the Isocell Vizion 931 image sensor, ensuring compatibility with a range of Android devices.

When will the Polar ID be available?

The ambitious timeline set by Metalenz aims for mass production in the second half of 2024, with Android manufacturers already in discussions to incorporate Polar ID into their offerings. The native support from Qualcomm and integration capabilities with Samsung's sensors hint at the imminent arrival of this groundbreaking technology in Android smartphones, potentially gracing the market by 2025.

Until Polar ID becomes commonplace, Android users will have to contend with RGB-based approaches from Google and Samsung, which, while less secure and dependent on favorable lighting conditions, will serve as a precursor to the imminent revolution ushered in by Metalenz's Polar ID technology. The future of face recognition technology for Android devices appears promising, with a more accessible, secure, and efficient solution on the horizon.