Smartphone biometric shipments to reach 715M by 2023 led by 487M camera-based units
While some smartphone vendors are attempting to meet market demand for full-display devices by making foldable or flexible screens, improved biometric, ultrasound, and gesture control technology will be the more successful way to meet the demand, at least initially, according to ABI Research. ABI predicts camera-based recognition technology for smartphones will reach 487 million shipments in 2023 as the industry’s dominant biometric modality, while in-display fingerprint sensors will approach 228 million shipments.
The recent debacle of folding smartphones from Samsung and delay of Huawei’s foldable competitor make the future of that innovation somewhat uncertain.
In-display fingerprint sensors, camera notches and punch-holes such as Samsung O, U, and V Infinity Displays, and LG’s Crystal Sound OLED, in which the display also functions as a speaker, contribute to the potential increase in screen size. Ultrasound gesture control technologies also do not require additional sensors to be installed on device fronts.
“Many of these technologies allow vendors to develop smartphones with larger overall screen sizes by reducing the need for sensors, buttons, and other features on the front screen,” says ABI Reseach Analyst Stephanie Tomsett. “They allow devices to have minimal bezels, thereby creating a relatively smaller form factor for an increase in display size, which can also be achieved, eventually, through the use of foldable screens.”
Tomsett points out that bezels perform important functions, such as protecting smartphone sides and preventing unwanted interactions with screen periphery, and manufacturers will have to replace these functions somehow to get rid of the bezel.
ABI also notes that rumors indicate Apple is working on a smartphone with no holes, speakers, or grilles. Further, Apple has a patent for an iPhone screen to be used a speaker, Samsung has a patent for the use of a smartphone screen as a camera, and LG has a patent for a smartphone with an all-display front. Some of these features may become obsolete due to lack of utility, cost, or poor user experience, while features including foldable displays may also be used in tandem.
Lower sensor prices and a narrowing premium for OLED displays are reported to be pushing in-display fingerprint biometrics into the mid-market smartphone segment.