iPhone’s multi-year lead in facial recognition could finally be nearing its end, as one of the third-party suppliers for the hardware in Face ID says it expects to start selling its 3D sensors to more companies this year.
Lumentum is the main supplier of vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) scanners, one of the primary components of Face ID in iPhone and iPad. So far, the company has only been making these for Apple.
But that likely to change soon. “During calendar 2019, based on customer engagements we have today, we expect new and existing customers will announce and release additional new 3D sensing-enabled products,” Lumentum CEO Alan Lowe said after his company announced quarterly earnings.
Probably Android. Maybe Windows?
While Lowe stopped short of naming any companies buying VCSEL scanners, there’s little room for doubt that any new phones employing this tech will run Android, as there really aren’t any other viable OS alternatives.
It’s also possible makers of Windows laptops might start using 3D face scanning for security.
Could be Samsung
Some Android devices already offer a basic version of facial recognition, but this uses 2D cameras so it can be fooled with pictures.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the Samsung Galaxy S10 — which is expected to launch later this month — will include improved facial recognition. This could come from Lumentum’s VCSEL scanner, which recognizes 3D shapes.