Face hidden
(Photo : @tomsdg / Unsplash)

Face hidden
(Photo : @tomsdg / Unsplash)

Qualcomm's new always-on camera feature is both exciting and terrifying, enabling Android phones to watch you all the time.

Qualcomm's Always-on Camera

At a summit, Qualcomm Technologies introduced the new always-on camera capabilities available in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that will power top-shelf Android phones in early 2022.

For Qualcomm, the new feature enables users to wake and unlock phones without picking them up. You have to glance at it, even if it's on a table far away from you or situated comfortably on a stand.

Basically, it's like having a camera that records your image even if it's not facing you or if you're not using it all. This feature is of great help if your hands are occupied. 

During the introduction of the new feature, Qualcomm said it would be useful for users checking the next steps in a recipe they found online while cooking.

Android users who aren't familiar with the directions while driving can also benefit from the always-on camera feature, with just the phone mounted somewhere and users glancing over at it to see where she/he's going and at the same time without taking their hands off the steering wheel too.

"Your phone's front camera is always securely looking for your face, even if you don't touch it or raise to wake it," says Judd Heape, Qualcomm's Vice President of product management.

Also Read: Qualcomm is Now Working to Improve Snapdragon 600 Series: 144HZ Refresh Rate to Arrive For Mid-range Devices

The Benefits of Qualcomm's Always-on Camera

The company also takes it as a feature that will allow greater security as it automatically locks your phone if it no longer detects you, peering over it or your face. 

Another advantage is when it recognizes an unfamiliar face.

Say you're in a public area and someone's looking over your shoulder to look at what you're doing on your phone. The new feature will automatically detect that and will proceed to lock the phone.

Notifications and other private information popping up on the screen will also be suppressed if someone's looking at the phone, other than you.

The main function was; if the phone recognizes you, it will automatically unlock and/or stay on. However, if it senses that someone else is looking at your phone, it will lock the phone and hide private information or notifications displayed at the top of the screen.

Qualcomm's Always-on Camera; Is it a Privacy Concern?

Qualcomm framed the always-on camera feature as the same as always-on microphones available in our phones for a long time. The Hey Siri or Hey Google wakes up the phone and responds. You won't even have to pick it up.

There were also smart home products with features like this--like Google's Nest Hub Max that recognizes your face when you walk up to it. Home security cameras have those features. 

However, unlike these gadgets, you carry your mobile phones everywhere. 

Amidst reports of security breaches and phone hacks, Heape assures Android users who will experience the always-on camera feature saying, "Always-on camera data never leaves the secure sensing hub while it's looking for faces."

Qualcomm technologies assure that the data collected from your facial recognition isn't sent to the cloud. Apps and phones will never be able to access it.

Related Article: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Set for Reveal, Headlining the Android Smartphone Flagships in 2022

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Written by Thea Felicity

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