The growth of Fingerprint on Display (FoD) sensors this year will hinge on whether they get installed in LCD panel smartphones, with a myriad of manufacturers working on the technology, according to industry sources on Feb. 21.
Due to the panel structures, only OLED display smartphones have been deploying FoD, which allows users to unlock their phones with their fingerprints.
In 2019, the biggest clients of the FoD technology was Samsung Electronics and Huawei. Samsung had deployed the ultrasound-based FoD to its Galaxy S and Note series, and the optic-based sensors to its budget series, the Galaxy A.
Chinese handset manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have mostly used optic FoD, partly because it was impossible to deploy the ultrasound-based sensors provided by Qualcomm due to the US sanctions against Huawei and overall trade issues.
Prices was also a problem, since ultrasound FoD modules stood at USD 12 in the first quarter of 2019, which was about 1.5 times the average USD 8 of FoD modules. Optic FoD sensors were supplied mostly by Taiwan’s Egis and China’s Goodix. Samsung partnered with Egis, while Chinese smartphone makers opted for Goodix.
FoD-applied smartphones stood at an estimated 200 million in 2019, up from 30 million in 2018. Some 40 types of models were launched with optic sensors accounting for 75% of the total, and the rest ultrasound-based. As the technology was more widely-applied, module prices fell to USD 5 in the third quarter of 2019, down from USD 8 in Q1.
And this year, even more smartphone makers are expected to apply FoD sensors to LCD models. In 2019, China’s Fortsense developed an FoD sensor solutions for TFT LCD display in 2019, but have yet to commercialize the technology. Another Chinese firm, OXi, also developed an optic-based FoD for TFT displays, but mass production is being delayed. France’s Isorg exhibited similar technology at last year’s CES.
Meanwhile, Apple has yet to apply FoD sensors to its iPhones. It currently deploys 3D face recognition technology.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.