Huawei skewers iPhone X's Face ID with a creepy clown

This bizarre Facebook video teases Huawei's upcoming phone.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read

Huawei must think the iPhone X is clowning around with its new Face ID, which unlocks the phone by scanning your face. The Chinese smartphone company recently posted an ad on its Facebook page that uses a creepy clown to poke fun of facial recognition scans that don't unlock the phone the first time. 

Let's face it, facial recognition isn't for everyone. Unlock the future with #TheRealAIPhone. 16.10.2017

Posted by Huawei Mobile on Friday, September 15, 2017

In the Huawei ad we see a happy clown waiting for its phone to unlock. The facial recognition software points out advanced identifiers like "eyes," "nose," and "mouth" -- three things Apple's Face ID needs to unlock a phone -- before ultimately failing. 

The failed validation seems to be a reference to when the iPhone X appeared to not recognize Craig Federighi's face. But it's worth noting that Apple claims that this is how Face ID is supposed to work. Like Touch ID, your passcode may be required to enable Face ID after restarting the phone, or after someone else tries to unlock it.

Still, Huawei uses the blooper as an excuse to tease Apple. The video's description says, "Let's face it, facial recognition isn't for everyone." The hashtag #TheRealAIPhone teases a future Huawei phone for Oct. 16, the widely expected Mate 10.

Watch this: Apple explains Face ID on iPhone X

While Apple's Face ID for the iPhone X is the first face-scanning system on a phone that's deemed secure enough to use for mobile payments (Samsung doesn't use its own facial recognition scanner for Samsung Pay), Face ID has also been a hot-button for security and the butt of jokes (also here).

While Apple is certainly big enough to shrug off Huawei's insult, Huawei may be gaining ground on Apple. Recent data from Counterpoint Research claims that Huawei has passed Apple to become the world's second largest smartphone brand under Samsung. With the Mate 10's announcement coming right before the iPhone X is available for preorder (Oct. 27), it's no surprise that Huawei wants to launch its own flagship on the iPhone X's back.

The Mate 10 is rumored to be a large-screen device with a dual-lens front-facing camera with a face-scanning feature of its own.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on this story.