Report: Qualcomm Two Years Behind Apple With 3D Sensing Tech

A new report by Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI states that Qualcomm's 3D sensing technology is up to two years behind Apple's. The Silicon Valley-based company is, allegedly, set to introduce 3D sensing technology to the masses with the launch of its upcoming iPhone 8, where it will play a key role in security. But in the world of Android, it appears manufacturers are holding off in order to observe the market's response once the next generation iPhone launches.

According to the report, Qualcomm is Apple's closest competitor, but the company is said to lag behind its Californian competitor in regards to the 3D sensing tech. Also, Android manufacturers are said to be reluctant when it comes to implementing the technology, with 2018 expected to be the earliest implementation. Currently, the only Android manufacturer showing a high level of interest in the new tech is Xiaomi, though the is said to be waiting for the market's response to Apple's solution before it makes any decisions regarding potential implementations of its own. After all, Apple is said to be including a new high-quality front facing camera that will support the 3D sensing technology and, if the response is positive, the technology has the potential to replace fingerprint scanners completely. Because of this, though, Qualcomm is not expected to ship the new technology in reasonable quantities until 2019, but it does give the company a relatively wide timeframe in order to adapt its technology to the market's needs. With most manufacturers awaiting the market response, the company can freely modify its offering in order to better suit the market and requirements of other manufacturers.

If the chip maker can remain in second place when it comes to developing the technology, the company's offerings could be in high-demand within a couple of years. Qualcomm's technology does have a few key differences, though. Apple's sensors are set to be manufactured by TSMC, who manufacturer both the diffractive optical element and the wafer-level optical separately. In the case of Qualcomm, though, the company has designed a system which includes both elements in the same module, which has the potential to save significant space once perfected. Nonetheless, with Apple's solution yet to be tested, Qualcomm will surely be keeping an eye on market's response and feedback in order to better adapt its own offering for future customers.

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