Smartphones with 3D cameras featuring depth-sensing capabilities will surpass 100 million shipments over the course of this year, Chinese analytics firm Sigmaintell estimates. Such features still haven't reached mainstream popularity in the Android segment, with Xiaomi being the first and so far only manufacturer to commercialize them in Google's ecosystem. Apple was the first to deliver a consumer-ready 3D camera last fall, having integrated it into the iPhone X.
Smartphones with three-dimensional cameras can map one's face and recognize it in all kinds of lighting conditions, even when it's partially covered with objects like hats and glasses. As a result, their "face unlock" methodology is faster and more secure compared to solutions using conventional front-facing cameras, iris scanners, or both, as is the case with the Intelligent Scan service supported by some of Samsung's most recent Android flagships such as the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The currently biggest drawbacks of mobile 3D cameras are manufacturing costs and aesthetics as suppliers charge up to around $50 for each such module, whereas the technology has so far only been implemented in conjunction with display notches, a polarizing design feature.
Samsung is said to be developing a way to include a 3D camera into the Galaxy S10-series smartphones without a screen cutout as recent reports indicate the company teamed up with Israeli startup Mantis Vision on such a project. Apple's upcoming iPhone lineup set to be announced in late summer or early fall should also feature an improved version of the depth-sensing solution introduced with the iPhone X, whereas Huawei may also commercialize a similar technology by the end of the year, according to some rumors. Both OPPO and Vivo are understood to be working on implementing 3D cameras into select smartphones as well, with insiders claiming their first product to feature such solutions will debut in the coming months. Apple is still expected to be the leading provider of depth-sensing smartphones in 2018 as Android devices with 3D cameras will only account for 12-percent of the aforementioned 100-million shipment figure, according to Sigmaintell.