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ABI Research forecasts 300M shipments of smartphones with iris scanners in 2021


ABI Research has published new research that forecasts a rise in global shipments of smartphones equipped with iris scanners, reaching almost 300 million in 2021.

The findings are a part of ABI Research’s “Human-Machine Interface Attach Rate and Penetration” report, which is included in its Wearables & Devices sector.

“As the iris is an unchanging, protected, and completely unique feature of the human body, smartphone vendors are gradually incorporating iris scanning capabilities into their products as a secure biometric identification solution to unlock devices or certify mobile payments,” said Marina Lu, senior analyst at ABI Research. “We find that users are still wary to rely on mobile payments due to security concerns, but iris scanning will help drive future mobile payment adoption.”

Since iris scanning does not require any physical contact, authentication is more seamless than other methods, such as a PIN system or fingerprint recognition.

Iris sensors in mobile devices, which can function separately from the front camera, include a camera chip and an IRED for illumination of the eyes so that the sensors can detect iris features even in a dimmer lighting environment.

In March 2015, Fujitsu became the first to announce iris scanning for smartphones. Soon afterwards, several other vendors launched their own smartphones with iris scanning including Lumia 950 and 950 XL from Microsoft, ZTE Nubia Prague S, HP Elite x3, and most recently, Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Other smartphone vendors are carefully watching the market response to iris scanning and are likely to follow Samsung to adopt iris scanning technologies.

“At the moment, iris scanning is complementary to the more mature fingerprint scanning,” said Lu. “However, we expect iris scanning to gain more popularity due to its higher stability and less susceptibility to external damage. Though iris scanning is geared toward high-end models now, we predict that it will be available in less expensive smartphones in the long run.”

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