Apple’s announcement of the iPhone X and its new 3D face-sensing technology, known as TrueDepth, has caused Android phone makers to move away from the idea of putting fingerprint sensors under a smartphone’s display and towards attempting to produce something akin to Face ID, that is, according to KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
According to Kuo, Android makers are so keen to move away from their previous plans to incorporate fingerprint-sensing technology into displays that queries to 3D-sensing firms have tripled as hardware makers attempt to move in the direction that Apple appears to be forging ahead.
This is perhaps a prime example of Apple skating to where the puck will be rather than where it currently is, something that Apple’s Tim Cook mentioned during the iPhone X announcement. The options that are currently available to Android phone vendors are believed to be from the likes of Qualcomm and Himax, Orbbec, and Mantis Vision. It is said that the more mature Qualcomm-Himax solutions are attracting the most attention from phone makers, with Kuo believing that within the next two or three years, we could see face-sensing technology-equipped handsets outpace phones with traditional fingerprint readers.
While under-display optical fingerprint recognition is only a spec upgrade from capacitive solutions, 3D sensing embodies a revolutionary user experience and warrants a premium on gross margin. 3D sensing not only enables facial recognition in security applications and allows users to create fun expressions like Apple’s Animoji, on a more important level, it is a key factor in the development of AR. We therefore believe brand vendors are willing to spend more for related components.
Apple’s iPhone X, complete with Face ID, will go on sale this coming November 3rd and will cost upwards of $999. It’s unknown whether Android phones with similar technology built in would also command such a fee. Presumably, as time rolls on, the price of such technology will fall, allowing for less costly handsets to include such security measures.
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