Huawei Could Be the First Phone to Rival 3D Sensing Solution of iPhone X, but That Will Happen in 2019
Apple has a two-year lead in the 3D sensing camera solutions race and it will take until 2019 for an Android competitor to come up with a TrueDepth-like camera for advanced functionality. Huawei is determined to take on Apple’s iPhone and is expected to come up with the first Android-based 3D sensing smartphone in 2019.
Huawei Flagship Will Most Certainly Get a 3D Sensing Module in 2019 but Will Rely on Cheaper Sensors to Get the Job Done
According to a note sent to investors by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider), he predicts Huawei will launch smartphones with 3D sensing technologies in 2019.
The Chinese company will begin with structured light solutions, similar to those that Apple employed for its TrueDepth iPhone X camera. However, it will shift to the smaller and more affordable time-of-flight sensors towards the end of the next year. In fact, ToF sensors might become the technology of choice in the next three to six months due to their affordability.
Other Android phone manufacturers may follow in the same footsteps as Huawei and develop their facial recognition camera systems with this ToF tech. Kuo thinks that ToF solutions also has advantages in BOM (Bill of Materials), so Android manufacturers are likely to adopt it, provided that there are no problems with recognition or production quality.
Apple was the first one to employ the depth-sensing camera technology with its iPhone X. It is called TrueDepth by the company and it integrates a flood illuminator, dot projector, color and infrared cameras, and advanced learning algorithm to make Face ID, a very advanced facial recognition system. TrueDepth captures an image of a patterned light.
By contrast, ToF systems create depth maps by working out the time it takes for laser pulses to bounce off a surface. Kuo believes that ultimately the industry will move towards ToF solutions because of the cheaper price.
A huge reason why Apple has a two-year lead over smartphone manufacturers in the 3D sensing battle is because of supply bottlenecks since there wouldn’t be enough VCSEL modules and optical filters until 2019 for wide adoption. However, Apple has nothing to worry about as it has hogged supplies which will give it an edge over other rivals.
Even if Huawei and other phone manufacturers adopt ToF solutions, there would still be issues as some integral components like VCSEL arrays are required by both.