KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo has stated in a report that they believe that Apple has at least a 2 year lead over Qualcomm in 3D sensing technology. KGI reports that Qualcomm won’t be making any significant shipments until 2019 or later.
Kuo states in the report that Qualcomm lags behind in both software and hardware fields to properly produce significant shipping products. This ultimately will help contribute to a delay in Android products taking advantage of 3D sensing technology. Android manufacturers are said to be waiting to see how Apple will use 3D sensing and whether it will offer an “innovative user experience” with features like facial recognition.
While Qualcomm has excelled in designing advanced application processors and baseband solutions, it lags behind in other crucial aspects of smartphone applications like dual-camera (many Android phones have instead adopted solutions used to simulate optical zoom from third-party vendors such as Arcsoft (US)) and ultrasonic fingerprint scanner (while a new reference design has been released, there is no visibility on mass production). So while Qualcomm is the most engaged company in the R&D of 3D sensing for the Android camp, we are conservative as regards progress toward significant shipments and don’t see it happening until 2019F.
Apple’s “iPhone 8” is rumored to include a front-facing camera with 3D sensing functionality that will enable a new facial recognition system to replace Touch ID, which Apple could not build under the display of the device because of production issues.
Apple’s “iPhone 8” with 3D sensors will debut in just a couple of weeks.