Smartphone facial biometrics boost mobile 3D sensing parts outlook

Taiwanese suppliers of mobile 3D sensing technology used for facial biometrics are preparing for a major potential opportunity from a switch to facial recognition from fingerprints in smartphone applications, Forbes reports.

Analysts in Taipei tell Forbes that Apple and some Chinese smartphone brands using Android are experimenting with the technology, mostly in the research and development phase. It could be used for applications from augmented reality to cashier-less retail stores to photo effects, with Taiwanese hardware suppliers like Win Semiconductors, Advance Wireless Semiconductor, and Newmax Technology, all of which make optical or 3D sensing parts, poised to join the market. Largan Precision currently supplies camera modules, and Foxconn Technology assembles many leading smartphones, and are also both from Taiwan.

“Taiwanese optical firms such as Largan and Newmax have an edge in optics components, especially since infrared camera lenses pose more difficulties than normal…mobile camera lenses do,” Jason Tsai, an analyst for Taipei-based market research firm TrendForce, told Forbes.

Trendforce says 3D sensing modules are increasingly important for smartphones, and forecasts the market for VCSEL laser arrays will reach $1.139 billion in full-year 2019. Android brands are following Apple into the space, though falling prices for in-display fingerprint sensors could sway some brands to implement that biometric technology instead, according to Taipei-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute Senior Industry Analyst Aaron Lin.

A Win Semiconductors spokesperson told Forbes that the company is optimistic about its smartphone business, including overseas prospects. Largan is number 1,287 on Forbes Global 2000 2019 list, while Foxconn is number 123.

Technavio recently forecast the global mobile biometrics market to continue growing, but at a slower rate over the next five years.

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