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Photos show canceled Google Pixel 2 with iris recognition

A curious look at what perhaps could've been for the Pixel series.

Published onOctober 31, 2022

Google logo pixel 2
  • Pictures of a Google Pixel 2 prototype with iris recognition have appeared online.
  • This tech let you securely unlock your phone with your iris.
  • The Pixel 2 wouldn’t have been the first smartphone with the technology.

With the notable exception of the Pixel 4 series, Google has long stuck with fingerprint unlock as the biometric authentication method of choice for the Pixel family. Now, a newly uncovered Pixel 2 prototype has revealed that Google thought about adding another authentication technology.

The Internal Archive Twitter account has posted pictures showing a Pixel 2 (Walleye) prototype complete with iris recognition technology. This allows you to securely unlock your phone by scanning your iris. Check the images out below.

The device has an IR LED and an “IR-filtered” front camera but no conventional selfie camera, according to the account. Other reported differences include no rear camera flash and the basic AOSP version of Android rather than the Pixel skin. This all seemingly points to the early nature of the prototype device.

Had Google gone ahead with bringing iris recognition to the Pixel 2 in 2017, it wouldn’t have been the first smartphone brand to offer this tech. 2015’s Fujitsu Arrows NX F-04G Android handset is considered to be the first device with iris scanning. Furthermore, Microsoft’s Lumia 950 series, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 series would’ve all beaten Google to the punch.

We can’t really say that Google missed out by not adopting this technology, though. Iris scanning was (and still is) a step above camera-based face unlock in terms of security, and the the tech works at night too. However, it was a step down from fingerprint scanners (like the Pixel 2 scanner) when it came to reliability and speed.

Would you buy a phone with iris unlock today?

701 votes
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