This time last year was a somewhat tumultuous one in the world of consumer-facing biometrics. Apple had just announced its iPhone X, and an entire industry of mobile device makers who had followed its lead in embracing fingerprint authentication for their own products suddenly faced the question of whether facial recognition was the future, even as other exciting technologies like in-display fingerprint scanning were finally ready for the spotlight.
The autumn of 2018 has been calmer and, in a way, reassuring, as we’ve seen the expansion of consumer-facing biometric technology in various directions, both within the mobile sector and in adjacent areas. As a handful of announcements made over the last couple of weeks have demonstrated, while consumer-facing biometrics appeared to face a big pivot a year ago, the story of biometrics in consumer tech today is one of general proliferation:
Apple is sticking with facial recognition – that’s clear enough. But it’s not giving up on Touch ID, either, and in fact it has brought the latter to its MacBook Air laptop.
Meanwhile, in-display fingerprint scanning has made it to America, thanks to OnePlus. The technology has steadily made its way into multiple devices in the China market over the course of this year, but its arrival in the US suggests that it might have real staying power in the global market.
Biometric technology is also proliferating in new kinds of consumer devices, including a new ring wearable and even a bike lock.
And support for biometric authentication is finally arriving in the major web browsers, paving the way for a further proliferation of multiple modalities in connected consumer tech.