Android Manufacturers Following Apple's Face ID, Shifting Away From Under-Display Fingerprint Technology

The smartphone industry is following the iPhone X’s lead and shifting away from under-display fingerprint scanning to 3D sensing technology, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors obtained by MacRumors.

Apple is set to release the iPhone X with facial recognition technology next month. The company unveiled the device’s Face ID technology in September during its event.

Now, Android smartphone companies are trying to keep up and are shifting towards camera-based 3D sensing technologies as the ideal user authentication mode. Since Apple revealed its TrueDepth camera and Face ID feature, inquiries from Android smartphone sellers into 3D sensing technologies have at least tripled, Kuo said.

The analyst said:

“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.”

Kuo predicts the next two to three years will see shipments of 3D sensor-equipped Android devices surpass gadgets with under-display fingerprint technology by a factor of two, three or more. The analyst had previously predicted it will take Android smartphone vendors up to two and half years to deliver the user experience Apple’s iPhone X TrueDepth camera offers.

Android companies’ shift to 3D sensing technology means Apple is on the right track with the Face ID. Apple had previously received some backlash over the technology after the feature’s botched demo during the company’s event last month. Apple also received questions and security and privacy concerns about the technology, including a letter from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Apple then released a security document with detailed information on the facial recognition technology.

Meanwhile, Android smartphone vendors’ interest in 3D sensing technology isn’t a surprise. Samsung has already implemented facial recognition technology in its devices. Users can unlock the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 with face recognition technology. However, the company has struggled with the feature because the devices can be easily tricked.

iPhone X: Pre-Order, Release Date, Price, Features

Apple will start taking pre-orders for the iPhone X on Oct. 27 and will launch the smartphone on Nov. 3. The 10th-anniversary iPhone will be offered in 64GB and 256GB starting at $999. Beside the Face ID, the iPhone X features a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge Super Retina display with OLED technology. The device comes with features the iPhone 8 doesn’t have, including Face ID, no home button and Animoji.