Android vendors are clamoring to copy Apple’s 3D facial recognition technology, dubbed Face ID, and the TrueDepth camera built into the upcoming iPhone X, says revered Apple analyst.

According to a research note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, obtained by Business Insider, Android makers are starting to take a much closer look at 3D sensing technology, especially following September’s iPhone X introduction.

For Android makers, Face ID and 3D sensing have replaced “under-display optical fingerprint recognition as the latest key investment theme”, according to the well-regarded analyst.

Here’s an excerpt from Kuo’s research note:

Android brand vendors are increasingly engaged in 3D sensing since the iPhone X announcement. Enquiries about solutions from Android brand vendors have roughly tripled, or more.

We’ve seen a substantial pick up of interest and involvement among top Android brand vendors in 3D sensing since iPhone X was unveiled.

The analyst sees 3D sensing in iPhone X as a breakthrough feature:

3D sensing is a revolutionary user experience that 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 augmented reality.

But ripping off Face ID will be easier said than done.

As Kuo himself previously estimated, Apple’s TrueDepth camera gives iPhone X a 2.5 year lead over Android. This was echoed recently in supply chain reports saying major Android vendors won’t release 3D-sensing phones before the first half of 2018 due to technological challenges.

We’re seeing a repeat of the Touch ID situation here.

When Apple rolled out Touch ID on iPhone 5s back in 2013, the industry took notice. It took Android vendors about two years to add seamlessly integrated fingerprint sensors to their devices, and now most smartphones come with fingerprint recognition.

Thanks to Apple’s brand power and sales, the TrueDepth camera and Face ID in iPhone X will once again make the rest of the industry copy Apple’s approach. And in a few short years, 3D sensing will be an ubiquitous feature on most smartphones, save for low-budget ones that will probably continue to ship with fingerprint scanners that cost less than 3D-sensing cameras.

I’m convinced the days of the smartphone fingerprint scanner are actually numbered because security numbers of one in 50,000 for Touch ID versus one in a million for Face ID are enough of a motivation for the industry to embrace 3D facial recognition.


  • Rowan09

    Just like they are still playing catch up with their chips.

    • Jack Wong

      They can’t, but a lot of android fans love to tell me how much ram they have with their phone, soon they will have more ram than my MacBook Air(8GB ram with a full desktop OS).

      • Rowan09

        Lol. I know.

      • askep3

        It’s always funny when they talk about ram. Like Android is compeltetly inefficient with using it. The OnePlus phone with 8 gigs barely beat the 7 plus for the app opening test, thats it

      • Abhinav Chaudhary

        Not true I’ve both iPhone 7+ and One Plus 3T. One Plus works as fast as iPhone does.

      • askep3

        Is it the 8 gig or 6 gig one? I only commented what I did because I saw one of those comparison videos and they said it BARELY beat the iphone

      • Jack Wong

        I just google it, it is 6GB vs 3GB, this is why Apple make a lot of profit from the iPhone…

      • Jack Wong

        OnePlus 3T vs. iPhone 7 Plus Speed Test

        I found this from youtube, I don’t usually looks at this kind of “speedtest” because it is not how I use the phone.

        iPhone is 12seconds faster and the total time is around 2mins, do I really care about the 12 seconds? I don’t, as long as the app run smoothly.

        By the way, more ram also mean more battery usage.

    • MMA Rules

      Boom right on point

    • Galaxy Life

      Nothing wrong with that, look how many years it took Apple to catch up to displays, water proofing, wireless charging, and at least a dozen other things.

      Companies playing catch-up is a win-win for consumers.

  • Iskren Donev

    I think that there will continue to be a market for fingerprint sensors in the future. The main reason is that your relatives (and especially twin siblings) have a very high chance of unlocking your device.

    I am a fan of the “ambient security” notion put forward by Rene Ritchie. It basically envisions a future where our devices will constantly try to confirm our identity in various ways:
    – fingerprint recognition
    – voice recognition
    – face recognition
    – gait recognition
    – Apple Watch heart rate recognition

    The idea is that as long as the devices around you are sure of your identity, you will not be asked for a PIN or a password to authenticate. The only time you would need to enter your password is when not enough passive sensors vouch for your identity.

    • Jack Wong

      Every new technology needs few years to make it popular and better, just like the Touch ID.

      Our finger print replaced the digitals unlock, it is nice~

      By just looking at the phone replace our finger print, it also sounds good.

      Apple is not the first one who start this Face ID, and Apple is also not the first one who start the finger print unlock, but they just make it works.

      • Rowan09

        Apple didn’t invent facial recognition but they are the first to make 3D facial recognition on a mobile phone. They also as you said didn’t invent fingerprint scanners, but were the first to get it right as well on a mobile phone. I remember when Touch ID was said to be a gimmick.

      • Jack Wong

        I used to have a Thinkpad laptop with a touch to unlock… I don’t even know which technology is that… because it doesn’t work as good as our smartphone finger print unlock.

        We can even talk about the smartphone before 2007 LOL…

      • Rowan09

        I had a Sony Vaio UC micro PC and it had a fingerprint scanner as well. It was a piece of junk.

  • 电天堂

    Touch ID + Face ID = ultimate security.

    • Joey_Z

      security for Touch ID + Face ID is still 1 in 50,000

      • TheAvatarNice

        Actually not. If you would require booth for unlocking the device and Touch ID would work by accident, Face ID would still not work. It’d still be one in a million.

      • Joey_Z

        Putting both in series is pointless, more steps and doesn’t add security. Putting both in parallel means less security.

      • Byambaa

        Touch ID “AND” Face ID together = 50000*1Mil = 50 Billion.
        Touch ID “OR” Face ID = “probably less than” 50000.

      • Joey_Z

        No need to assume face id and touch id have to come from the same person

  • Jason Barton

    I have zero interest in FaceID. When I eventually upgrade to a new device, I will go back to a passcode.

    • Leopoldo Pereira

      In two years you will have more than zero interest in FaceID.

      • Jason Barton

        Maybe. Maybe in two years I’ll be glad that the headphone jack was taken away too. To date, I hate not having a headphone jack and once I don’t have touch ID anymore, Ill hate that too until there is a reason for me not to.

      • Leopoldo Pereira

        Good points!

  • Leopoldo Pereira

    “Thoughts?” Android sucks. My opinion. Sorry.

  • Galaxy Life

    Why so when Apple can’t seem to get it working and might see their flagship anniversary phone delayed until some time in 2018.

    I don’t think there will be a “clamor”