Apple introduced its sophisticated 3D sensing technology called Face ID with the iPhone X last year and a new report suggests that the company has a sold two-year lead over its Android rivals in this department. According to the report, most Android OEMs will have to wait until 2019 at least to duplicate the 3D sensing technology behind Face ID.

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3D sensing technology enables more secure facial recognition as well as secure biometrics for payments. It even powers features like Animoji on the iPhone X which are basically emoji that replicate the user’s facial movements.

The research firm Gartner predicts that 40 percent of all smartphones shipped by 2021 will feature 3D cameras which will also be useful for new augmented reality experiences. Several parts suppliers tell Reuters that production bottlenecks on key parts will delay mass adoption of 3D sensing until next year.

If the prediction is accurate then major Android OEMs could be almost two years behind Apple in the 3D sensing department as they’re already said to be facing difficulties in securing vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers which are a crucial part of Apple’s Face ID technology. Meanwhile, Apple inked a $390 million deal with laser component supplier Finisar in December last year to secure vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser supplies.

Viavi, one of the top suppliers of optical filters for 3D sensing modules, predicts that a second OEM might potentially launch a smartphone with 3D sensing capabilities at the end of this calendar year but the volumes will likely be quite low.

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