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No face biometric unlock on Pixel 6, BlackBerry upgrades security tool

FPC supplies Pixel 5A 5G sensor, Apple VP discusses MacBook modality
No face biometric unlock on Pixel 6, BlackBerry upgrades security tool

The much-anticipated Pixel 6 launch confounded hopes of a return of biometric 3D face unlock. The new range uses new AI processing to deliver improved images across darker skin tones, which the Wall Street Journal has put to the test, while Fingerprint Cards has been revealed as fingerprint biometrics provider for a recent Pixel smartphone, and BlackBerry has strengthened its security suite with behavioral biometrics to help ensure smaller firms can protect their systems with a workforce both in the office and still at home.

BlackBerry upgrades device protection with BlackBerry Guard 2.0

BlackBerry’s updated managed detection and response (MDR) service includes an AI-powered mobile threat defense (MTD) alongside user behavior risk analytics and network analytics technology to offer greater protection from phishing, malware and insider threats for small business.

BlackBerry Guard 2.0 is a subscription-based service in collaboration with the Cylance AI platform. It integrates with other BlackBerry security services for expanded security visibility across an enterprise’s ecosystem. The software also includes passive behavioral biometrics for continuous authentication, according to the announcement.

“With organizations increasingly moving to a remote or hybrid workforce, keeping employees safe and secure no matter where or how they work should be paramount,” said Billy Ho, executive vice president of Product Engineering, BlackBerry.

“Having a comprehensive offering that can rapidly adapt to the changing threat landscape is critical. With this offering, our BlackBerry security analysts can be better prepared to defend our customers by correlating the enhanced telemetry across mobile, desktops, network, and user data.”

Google’s Pixel 6 range: Real Tone for ‘most inclusive camera,’ but no biometric face unlock

The Google rumor mill got it wrong on its predictions of biometric face unlock coming back to the Google’s Pixel smartphone range.

Having been removed for Pixel 5, the feature has not made a return with the Pixel 6 models just released. Instead, they have an in-display fingerprint sensor which is attracting criticism from customers for being slow. However, a recent survey by 9to5Google found that almost three quarters of respondents prefer finger to face biometrics.

The Pixel 5A 5G model, released in August, features a fingerprint sensor provided by Fingerprint Cards, the company revealed in a Tweet.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro do include new ‘Real Tone’ image processing technology with artificial intelligence to give the range “the world’s most inclusive camera,” according to the product webpage.

“Google’s mission to make our camera and image products work more equitably for people of color. With Pixel 6, we vastly improved our camera tuning models and algorithms to more accurately highlight the nuances of diverse skin tones,” states the release.

The Wall Street Journal took the new handset along with an iPhone 13 Mini and Samsung Galaxy S21 onto the streets of San Francisco for testing. 18 people of color, with a variety of skin tones, agreed to pose three times and then reviewed their portraits across the three brands. While most agreed that the new Real Tone feature meant the Pixel 6 more accurately presented their skin tones, 15 out of 18 preferred how they looked in the Samsung images.

Why new MacBooks do not need Face ID

A biometric Google feature is, however, to make its way to iOS. The Locked Folder feature found in Google Photos will become available on the iPhone and iPad in early 2022, reports Cult of Mac.

It allows Google Photos users to create an album for photos and videos which requires fingerprint unlocking, even if the phone is already unlocked. The feature appeared in Google’s Pixel handsets in June before rolling out across Android. iOS has a Hidden folder. Photos added to this do not show up in the overall camera album, but folder is not itself protected.

While Google has not brought back technologies used on a previous model, Apple has with its MacBooks. It brought back a range of ports and the MagSafe magnetically-attached charging cable. But the large notch jutting into the screen does not include the hardware for Face ID, the 3D biometric face recognition technology used on iPhones since the iPhone X and recent pro versions of the iPad.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s VP of iPad and Mac product marketing, Tom Boger, said that the 2021 models still had the Touch ID key because users already have their hands on the keyboard, making it more convenient.

The return of previously popular features to the MacBook range shows that Apple listens to its customers, Apple execs told the WSJ, so it remains to be seen how long it will take for Face ID to reach its computers – the firm has already patented it.

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