Anything iPhone X can do… Android phones will get ‘deep portrait’ mode and Face ID

The iPhone X has been out for a little more than a month, but there are already plans to replicate its headline features in 2018's high-end Android phones.

'Deep portrait' selfie photography, and Face ID and Unlock, will be supported by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset, which is likely to be in a majority of top Androids next year.

This will enable bokeh-rich portrait photos from the selfie camera, which we've mainly seen on rear-facing cameras among Android phones. Blurring the background in your subject-focused selfies is a much more compelling effect than selfie beauty mode and skin smoothing, which almost blurs... you.

And while Android handsets have had a primitive version of Face ID and Unlock, Qualcomm's solution is being touted as a way to match Apple's TrueDepth front-facing camera. It all needs to start at the system-on-a-chip level.

We don't know which phones will support the Snapdragon 845 chipset, and in turn support deep portrait selfies and Face ID, but almost all major phone makers did have the Snapdragon 835 chipset at the core of their hardware. The Samsung Galaxy S9 may be the first with the new 10nm silicon. 

Ready for Android Animoji?

You can also expect to see more 3D face-mapping on Android phones to match what we've seen from Apple's Animoji feature.

Qualcomm's new chipset has active depth-sensing and supports IR sensors for face-mapping. The company also talked up the security of its chip, noting that face-mapping security is of the utmost importance.

The Huawei-made Honor View 10 is already attempting to clone Animoji, but having the architecture in place on the chip is vital to improving performance and adoption of the next-generation of front-facing camera features.

  • We’re reporting live from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, bringing you the latest news, features and hands on reviews on the future of smartphones, laptops, 5G and IoT. You can follow all our coverage here.
Matt Swider