Apple’s been known to set the trends in consumer mobility, and no greater example is when Apple announced Touch ID in 2013. Following this announcement, a cascading roll out of smartphones around the globe with integrated fingerprint sensors ensued. So much so that fingerprint-based security is now considered standard issue on most devices.
So what’s the next projected trend for biometrics enabled mobile security? With the recent announcement and launch of Face ID, it looks as though contactless facial recognition is the new fingerprint. Apple’s competitors are projected to adopt a similar technology during 2018, which could make facial identification a new standard for even the most basic devices, and according to the research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research, more than a billion smartphones will feature some form of facial recognition technology by the year 2020, with Apple and Samsung leading the way, followed by predominantly Chinese players like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Huawei.
Apple’s Face ID generates a 3D depth map of the user’s face utilizing multiple sensors in the iPhoneX. However, with the recently reported disappointing sales of the iPhone X, it’s been projected this latest model will go the way of the dodo. But that doesn’t mean the end of Apple’s face scanning solution, as new reports suggest all of this years new iPhone models will ship with Face ID.
Alternatively, Samsung relies on 2D imaging for facial recognition on it’s own handsets, though the flagship Galaxy devices rely on iris recognition as a primary authentication method. OnePlus also relies on 2D facial recognition. It’s the general consensus, according to Counterpoint, that OEMs will integrate facial recognition choosing between 2D and 3D facial recognition based on the pricing 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.
This, of course, doesn’t mean fingerprint-based authentication is dead. Facial recognition can be less discreet than fingerprint-based authentication when it comes to getting past your lock-screen. For example: if you’re trying to check your phone during a boring play, you don’t want to raise up your device to your face. Counterpoint says a combination of biometric technologies is the way of the future, with broader applications than authentication, with face, iris, voice, and fingerprints working in tandem with one another, layered to provide the most convenient (and less obnoxious in some cases) being selected on an application-by-application basis.