Over a billion smartphones to feature facial recognition by 2020

09 February 2018

Much like its Touch ID, which set a trend, Apple's Face ID is also fuelling a fad going by the number of smartphones that will feature the technology, according to analysts.

According to Counterpoint Technology Market's latest report, by 2020, over one billion smartphones will feature some form of face unlock solution, which could be a standalone facial identification feature or a combination of face and iris scanning seen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Researchers say, whether or not Apple gives up on the fingerprint-based Touch ID for the contactless Face ID, rivals are expected to adopt similar technology in 2018.

Facial recognition technology could become an industry standard for unlocking phones and in the process, eliminating traditional fingerprint sensors over time.

If one were to look at the current facial recognition systems, Apple iPhone X technology makes use of a 3D depth mapping technique using multiple sensors for authentication, while Samsung uses 2D recognition coupled with iris scanning.

OnePlus 5T, uses only 2D facial recognition mechanism. According to counterpoint analysts, going forward smartphone OEMs will opt for 2D or 3D facial recognition techniques depending on their product pricing.

Counterpoint projects that over one billion smartphones are likely to ship with facial recognition in 2020, with Apple and Samsung smartphones becoming the torchbearers, and Chinese makers Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Huawei following suite.

Currently only Apple's Face ID generates a 3D depth map of the user's face with the help of multiple sensors in the new iPhone X, but going forward nearly 60 per cent of all smartphones with facial recognition are expected to use 3D technology by 2020, allowing "emerging technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence to widen their use cases," according to Pavel Naiya, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research.

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