Qualcomm has announced an expansion to its Spectra Module Program, which is a really fancy way of talking about the part of their Snapdragon processors that handles image processing. It’s one thing for a phone to have a high resolution camera and good sensors, but it needs a capable processing platform to back up what it’s trying to do.
Today’s addition includes two big things; biometric authentication, and improvement in depth sensing. These are both an answer to the direction that mobile devices have been moving, and if you’ve had your ear to the ground for new smartphone rumors, you can probably guess what these mean for mobile devices next year and beyond.
Using a camera for biometric authentication means someone, somewhere is working on facial recognition for your smartphone. Samsung already uses iris recognition in the Galaxy S8, and by now you’ve almost definitely heard about Apple ditching TouchID exclusively for facial recognition on the iPhone 8, which means it’s not going anywhere. Now OEMs can use a Snapdragon processor handle that processing instead of working on their own solutions, which should speed up the process and expedite adoption.
The high resolution depth sensing plays into that biometric authentication, but it also means big things for HMDs like virtual reality headsets. We’ve also heard rumors about VR goggles that track your face, and Qualcomm wants to be right in the center of that market, whether it’s embedded in the phone or in a standalone headset.
These features won’t come to phones overnight, but they’ll very likely make their way into Qualcomm’s products next year, which means we’ll see phones with the new technology very soon afterwards. And if you needed confirmation on some of the other rumors in the industry, well, this might just be it.