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Mobile Apps for New Facial Recognition Technology


According to the latest market study by ABI Research, by the end of 2012, almost 20 percent of annual smartphone shipments will include facial recognition capabilities to enhance the user experience.

Five years from now, shipments of smartphones and media tablets with the new technology embedded will increase to 665 million annually. Currently, only Google Android (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean) mobile operating systems support the facial recognition capability in significant volumes.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is one of the most notable smartphones to feature the facial recognition technology. However, ABI believes that over the next two to three years, many more software operating systems and mobile OEMs will incorporate the technology.

Facial recognition has been on the mobile device manufacturer technology radar for some time. It was developed in the 1960s by three scientists: Woody Bledsoe, Helen Chan Wolf, and Charles Bisson.

Historically, the major challenge for the technology in mobile devices has been incorporating an accurate enough sensor (digital camera) and a powerful enough processor to undertake the complex algorithms while limiting power consumption. Thanks to new technology advancements, this complex task is now possible and more reliable.

"Facial recognition technology has improved drastically over the last 10 years and accuracy is almost always above 90 percent," says Josh Flood, ABI Research senior analyst.

That being said, lighting conditions and facial expressions can sometimes cause problems with the image capture and face recognition process. But the improvements in digital camera resolution and processing power utilized by mobile devices today has helped greatly.

The technology is already being actively marketed and implemented in smart TVs with the ability to identify the user (viewer) having numerous advantages in this sector.

Furthermore, more advanced 3D cameras that are larger than the 2D cameras typically used in mobile devices can be used, while power consumption is not such a critical factor either.

Nevertheless, ABI Research projects a steady adoption of the technology in mobile devices and numerous mobile device application processor makers have begun creating plans and documenting the benefits for this advanced technology.

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