Android Makers Start Developing 3D-Sensing Technologies Like Face ID

Following Apple’s introduction of Face ID technology in the iPhone X, Android smartphone manufacturers have turned away from under-display fingerprint recognition, and have now started developing camera-based 3D sensing technologies, according to KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has previously said it would take Android competitors up to two and a half years to replicate the Face ID feature (via MacRumors).

Face ID

The analyst writes in his latest research note that “inquiries by Android smartphone vendors into 3D-sensing technologies have at least tripled”, ever since Apple unveiled its TrueDepth camera and Face ID technology in the upcoming anniversary edition iPhone X. He also notes that right now, the solutions available to Android makers are from Qualcomm and Himax, Orbbec, and Mantis Vision, with Qualcomm-Himax solutions being at the top of the list.

Here’s what Kuo says:

“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.”

The analyst believes shipments of 3D sensor-equipped Android devices will exceed those with under-display fingerprint recognition by a factor of two or three or more, in the next 2-3 years.