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Pixel 8 boasts improved biometrics with Face Unlock

Pixel 8 boasts improved biometrics with Face Unlock

Upgraded face authentication on Google’s new phone will allow users to verify sign-in to apps and make payments. According to several sources, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro use AI and machine learning in their selfie cameras to enable secure Face Unlock at the highest Android biometric class requirements.

Its Class 3 biometric security rating means it is unlikely to be tricked into unlocking by an image or a face that is not the registered user’s. It means banking apps and other payment platforms such as PayPal can exploit Face Unlock for sign-in and authentication on the Pixel 8 – a step up from the Class 1 rated Pixel 7, on which fingerprints were the only biometric option for financial apps and transactions.

While Google and its parent company Alphabet face questions from the U.S. government over its alleged monopoly in search, no one is asking about its dominance in the smartphone market. According to an article in The Straits Times, in the U.S. Google claimed just 3 percent of smartphone shipments in Q2. Apple – which introduced banking sign-ins for Face ID on the iPhone in 2017 – had 55 percent.

Design tweaks in the Pixel 8 suggest it is a direct response to Apple’s continued rule of the market. The Pixel 8 boasts an improved refresh rate and both models have a flat-edged screen like the iPhone and an improved camera and display. Android promises seven years of OS and security updates.

However, the Face Unlock feature is said to be inherent to the Pixel 8’s Tensor G3/Titan M2 chip technology, and will not be available to those using the Android 14 OS or beyond on older Pixel devices, who must continue to use fingerprint authentication for bank apps and purchases.

Google’s iPhone ambitions come with an iPhone price tag: the starting price for both Pixel 8 models has gone up by $100. The Pixel 8 is priced at $699, while the pro version costs $999, about the same as an iPhone 15 Pro.

Pixel Watch 2 tells you to mellow with new biometric sensors

Accompanying the Pixel 8 to market is the new Pixel Watch, the second version of Google’s biometrics-tracking wearable device. Retailing at $350, the watch features three new biometric sensors on the back housing to ensure consistent biometric feedback in its body response tracking tools.

Like a tiny robot therapist worn on the wrist, the watch uses a continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA) monitor to sense microscopic beads of sweat, and compares that data against skin temperature, plus pulse and heart rate from a multipath heart rate monitor. If it senses high levels of stress, it will trigger an alert telling you to chill out and try journaling or taking a walk, maybe doing some yoga.

A review in Engadget is most impressed by its lighter weight compared to the original Pixel Watch (which under-impressed), but also notes improved energy efficiency from the quad-core Snapdragon Wear 5100 processor.

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