Apple has a two-year lead in 3D sensing technology: Report

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 23 Mar 2018
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Android manufacturers may have to wait until 2019 before they can start replicating the 3D sensing feature used by Apple’s Face ID technology

Apple has a two-year lead in 3D sensing technology: Report

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It seems like Apple has a 2-year lead over its rivals in the area of 3D sensing technology. According to a report by Reuters, Android phone manufacturers will have to wait until 2019, before they can start replicating the 3D sensing feature that is use by Apple’s Face ID technology. Parts manufacturers, Viavi Solution Inc, Finisar Corp and Ams AG told the publication that bottlenecks on key components means that mass adoption of the technology will not happen till 2019.

Due to this, manufacturers like Xiaomi and Huawei might lag behind Apple by nearly two years. The report notes that Android smartphone makers are struggling to source vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers or VCSELs, which are a key component of Apple’s TrueDepth camera, which is used for Face ID. It adds that Apple was initially sourcing VCSELs mainly from Lumentum, a California-based company. However, bottlenecks in production there led to a planned investment of $390 million in Finisar Corp by Apple. 

Bill Ong, Senior Director of Investor Relations, Viavi told  the publication, “It is going to take them a lot of time, the Android-based customers, to secure capacity throughout the whole supply chain.” Viavi is the only major supplier of optical filters needed for the 3D sensing modules.

All this means that Android manufacturers will have no choice but to rely on traditional means to employ face unlock features such as iris scanner or front camera itself. However, many Android manufacturers have already whole-heartedly adopted one design aspect of the Apple iPhone X, namely the notch. Asus, Vivo and Oppo have already launched or planning to launch devices featuring a notch in the display. Other companies like LG, OnePlus and Nokia are also expected to launch devices featuring the notch. 

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