More than a billion smartphones will ship with facial recognition in 2020: Counterpoint

Apple's Face ID generates a 3D depth map of the user's face that is achieved by the multiple sensors in its iPhone X.

    According to a report by market research firm Counterpoint, Facial recognition technology from Apple and Samsung will prompt other manufacturers to include the feature in their devices. Adding that more than a billion smartphones will ship with facial recognition in 2020.

    More than a billion smartphones will ship with facial recognition

    The report said that Apple's rivals will adopt similar technology during 2018, which could lead to facial recognition becoming the de-facto standard for unlocking phones and the gradual elimination of fingerprint sensors in smartphones. Apple's Face ID generates a 3D depth map of the user's face that is achieved by the multiple sensors in its iPhone X. On the contrary, other players like Samsung rely on 2D facial recognition coupled with an iris scanner. OnePlus, on the other hand, relies on just 2D facial recognition. Going forward, we believe more OEMs will opt for facial recognition choosing between 2D and 3D facial recognition technology based on the price positioning of their product.

    "The diffusion of facial recognition technology into lower tier price bands will be faster than any other flagship feature due to 2D facial recognition being native on the Android platform," said Pavel Naiya, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

    "However, according to our estimates, close to 60 percent of all smartphones with facial recognition will use 3D technology in 2020. Data collected from multiple 3D sensors will assist emerging technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence to widen their use cases," he added.

    When talking about biometrics in terms of security and convenience, the firm found that convenience is generally more important than security to most consumers.

    "There are certainly situations where looking directly at a smartphone will be inconvenient, such as when walking briskly along a crowded street", commented Peter Richardson, Research Director at Counterpoint Research.

    "In such cases, a fingerprint sensor may well be more convenient and quicker as it does not require the user to look directly at the device and could even be unlocked as it is being removed from the user's pocket or bag. Although Face ID may not be the most convenient way to unlock a phone under all situations, it is well-suited for applications that require higher security, such as mobile payments, and where speed is not necessarily of the essence. In such cases, consumers may be happy to wait longer, say 2-3 seconds, in return for a much higher level of security, such as when purchasing an expensive item using their phone." added Richardson.

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