The iPhone X’s 3D scanning TrueDepth camera has impressed a lot of people with its accuracy in recognizing faces and ability to turn them into emojis. So far, no Android manufacturer has managed to duplicate the hardware required for advanced 3D sensing, and a new report claims that they might not be able to do so for another 2 years.
3 big-time parts producers told Reuters that Android customers will have to wait till 2019 to get hold of the same 3D sensing feature as the iPhone X. Manufacturers like OnePlus and Xiaomi are making up for this at the moment by allowing the regular selfie camera to serve as a substitute, but the accuracy is nowhere near as close as Face ID.
The situation is actually pretty similar to the issues facing the smartphone world back in 2013 with the introduction of Touch ID. Android rivals like Samsung scrambled to incorporate their own fingerprint readers into their smartphones, trickling down to mid-range and entry-level phones over time.
Things are a bit more dire with Face ID as there are massive bottlenecks on key parts like vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). Apple has apparently hogged up the supply chain, leaving Android brands to twiddle their thumbs.
One source claims that there might a second handset maker who will venture into 3D sensing by the end of 2018. However, the volumes would be very low. 2019 will see more of an uptick with at least 2 or more devices featuring the advanced technology. Going by this timeline, it could take many years after that for it to spread to more smartphones.
Research firm Gartner is of the opinion that 40% of phones will be equipped with 3D cameras by 2021. This will pave the path for AR, accurate facial recognition, secure payments, immersive shopping and gaming experiences, and gesture sensing.