A new report from Reuters claims that Apple has a lead of two years over Android OEMs in 3D sensing technology. In other words, the Android OEMs will only be able to copy Apple’s Face ID tech by 2019, which is a big win for Apple.
The 3D sensing cameras are going to be extensively used for Artifical Reality in the future. So, the technology is going to play a huge role in smartphones over the next few years. The same 3D sensing tech can also be used for improved and secure facial recognition capabilities as done by Apple in its iPhone X.
Thanks to Apple’s massive investment in its R&D department and tight control over its supply chain, the company has managed to gain this two years lead over its competitors.
According to Bill Ong, senior director of investor relations from Viavi, “It is going to take them a lot of time, the Android-based customers, to secure capacity throughout the whole supply chain.” It is worth noting that Viavi is seen as the only major supplier for the optical filters used in the 3D sensing modules.
We may have a potential introduction of a second handset maker into 3D sensing at the end of this calendar year. (But) the volumes would be very low. In 2019 you clearly will see at least two or more android-based phones.
The supply of 3D sensing modules will not increase until next year because of some of the key components required for the tech are experiencing bottleneck. Apple said to have secured a $390 million deal with Finisar. The company manufactures VCSELs which is a key component of the Face ID tech.
For now, it remains unclear which Android OEM plans on introducing a phone with 3D sensing capabilities similar to that of iPhone X. Given the supply constraints, it is highly unlikely of any major Android OEM to adopt 3D sensing technology in their flagship smartphone.
Mig-Chi Kuo of the KGI Securities had made a similar claim when Apple had launched the iPhone X. And given the supply bottleneck, the Cupertino is not expected to revamp its current Face ID tech in its 2018 iPhone lineup.