At first, it was supposedly the immaturity of the technology that forced both Samsung and Apple to shelve their plans for in-screen fingerprint sensor, alternatively known as Fingerprint on Display or FOD. But rather than keep Touch ID and relocate it somewhere else, Apple decided to jump ship and fully embrace Face ID with no turning back. Apparently, that technology has been good enough that Apple may have lost interest in bringing back Touch ID anytime soon.
That analysis came from the famed Ming-chi Kuo, as reported by 9to5Mac. Given the availability of FODs on Android smartphones, it’s almost natural to expect Apple would adopt it too. In fact, that was one of the rumors for this year’s “iPhone XS”. Kuo believes otherwise. Face ID is working well enough that Apple isn’t in a rush to jump on the new technology and might instead wait for the stars and features to align first.
That could spell trouble for the nascent FOD market that may be banking on Apple’s clout to boost interest, development, and sales. Instead, biometrics companies will have to rely on Android manufacturers to push the technology forward. In fact, Kuo believes it will be a differentiating factor between Android and iOS for at least another year. Sort of like how Android differentiated itself with navigation buttons (now gone in Pie).
Not that Android manufacturers have much choice. While almost all of them tout one form of face recognition or another, few can claim to reach the same level of accuracy and security as Apple’s Face ID. Fingerprints are still better for now and OEMs can either put a traditional fingerprint sensor somewhere or under the display.
In-screen fingerprint scanners, however, are still at their early stages. They have yet to overcome a few technical hurdles, particularly when it comes to supporting OLED screens. They’re also pretty much limited to scanning a single spot that users will have to target precisely. Kuo predicts that whole-screen FODs might be due in late 2019.