Android OEMs like Samsung, LG, and Huawei have for long sought to follow in Apple’s footsteps, often mimicking technologies that try to compete and even out-innovate Apple, but always seem to fall disappointingly short of what Cupertino’s team brings to the table each year.
Take Samsung’s so-called ‘3D Touch Killer’, for instance, which debuted on the company’s otherwise lovely Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices, and you’ll have a clear idea of what we’re talking about.
And so it seems that Android OEMs’ futile attempts to one-up the iPhone will only continue from here on out, as manufacturers left reeling in the wake of Apple’s iPhone X are reportedly shifting their focus from incorporating display-embedded fingerprint readers to incorporating a 3D camera (a la iPhone X), instead, according to the well-connected KGI analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo.
As a matter of fact, Kuo said in his latest research note (a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider), Android OEMs’ inquiries into potential 3D sensing solutions like Apple’s TrueDepth camera have “at least tripled” since the company unveiled its Face ID-equipped iPhone X last month.
Notably, Kuo points out that up until the debut of iPhone X, most Android OEMs were laser-focused on developing a viable display-embedded fingerprint reader — similar to the technology that Qualcomm and Vivo showcased earlier this year, and at least conceptually similar to the Touch ID solution Apple was believed to be working on for its iPhone X.
Unfortunately, in the months leading up to the tenth-anniversary flagship’s debut, it was revealed in a series of reports that Apple was having difficulty integrating Touch ID underneath the display, and as a result, opted to incorporate Face ID only after the fact.
For its part, Apple remains adamant that for at least the last year it’s been “all in” on the prospect of Face ID replacing Touch ID. However that still doesn’t dismiss the fact that Android makers are clearly just looking to cash in on the “higher gross margins” that an experience like Face ID can command, according to Kuo, who cites that Apple’s solution transcends the concept of facial recognition as we know it.
“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,” Kuo notes, while adding that “We therefore believe brand vendors are willing to spend more for related components.”
Interestingly, while Kuo stopped short of providing a timeline within which we could see the first of these 3D sensor-equipped Android devices, his predictions come as smartphone-makers appear locked in a race to create handsets that not only capture the consumer sentiment, but also provide users with a truly revolutionary experience for their money.