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CES 2018 Device Blog : Day 3 : Technologies and Trends

by Ken Hyers | Jan 11, 2018

CES 2018, America's biggest consumer electronics trade show, takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, from Sun 7 to Fri 12 Jan, 2018. As usual, Strategy Analytics has a large team of analysts across various services including smartphones, drones, robots, tablets, wearables, smart home, semiconductors and Automotive in attendance.

Our CES 2018 preview blog can be seen here.

Our CES 2018 Day One blog can be viewed here.

Our CES 2018 Day Two blog can be viewed here.

Day Three coverage of CES 2018 is about technologies and trends from the show.

Fingerprint sensor under display : Apple was rumored to include behind display fingerprint sensor to its celebratory model iPhone X, but failed to get it working on time for the launch. Now vivo, a Chinese TOP6 smartphone vendor, has showcased their latest device at CES 2018 with embedded fingerprint sensor from Synaptics behind the display. The device is world’s first with such technology and a start for a new era in fingerprint sensor positioning.

The Synaptics Clear ID optical fingerprint scanner (FS9500) works with OLED displays and lights up a small area of the display that is used for the authentication. The sensor sits under the display and uses AI to compare the image of users finger to the one that is stored in the phone’s memory. The solution is still notably slower compared to regular scanners as it takes roughly 0.7 seconds to verify compared to 0.2 seconds with regular fingerprint sensor, however, the benefits vastly outweigh the few disadvantages. Being able to position fingerprint sensor to the front even with 18:9 full-front display is a huge leap forward and will be one of the key trends for 2018. The technology combination (OLED + Sensor) required is still more expensive than regular fingerprint sensors so we shall see the technology penetrating to premium devices first this year.

Exhibit 1 : vivo under display fingerprint sensor

Exhibit 1 : vivo under display fingerprint sensor

AR to mainstream devices: Spreadtrum and uSens announced world’s first mainstream AR engine called uSensAR. The new engine has been co-developed by uSens and Spreadtrum and will become first available in the new Spreadtrum SC9853I chipset platform. The solution is built into the camera library of the new chipset and can work even with slightly lower resolution smartphone cameras. The top AR engines in the market, ARKit by Apple and ARCore by Google, are designed to run in premium level devices, but the new engine from Spreadtrum and uSens can be implemented to mainstream devices also.  

AR has long been an interesting technology that has suffered from its presence in high end devices only. This has slowed down the adoption and made the technology less interesting for developers. Now, by bringing AR to mainstream devices, Spreadtrum and uSens are giving much needed boost to the technology and opening new possibilities for developers.

Exhibit 2 : uSens in action

uSens


18:9 display aspect ratio trend: The year 2017 introduced to the world new aspect ratio for smartphone displays when LG introduced G6 and 18:9 display. The new aspect ratio became hugely successful and latest announcements during CES from Huawei, Alcatel, etc indicate that the trend is only strengthening when we continue to 2018.

Display technologies are front and center this year in many ways. Besides the new aspect ratio, new form factors can be expected to appear this year also as vendors are introducing dual display and likely even foldable display devices this year.

Exhibit 3: Honor View 10, Honor 7X and Alcatel devices
Honor


Face Unlock trend
: 2D facial authentication has been in most Android phones since the introduction of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) without many noticing its presence. The system is relatively easy to implement as only real hardware requirement is a good quality front camera with resolution preferably over 5MP. At CES 2018 most vendors are highlighting the feature as new addition to the devices security offering.

Google added the Face Unlock smartphone unlock method to its security system in Android 4.0 and since then it has been part of Android's security system. After iPhone X brought 3D facial recognition to premium level devices, the 2D facial recognition has been resurrected and enabled as part of a lower level security in many new devices. Even though the level of security that 2D facial authentication provides is not as good as fingerprints, the 2D facial recognition gives vendors a way to advertise something “new” in their phones. Facial unlock and authentication will be one of the big trends this year and despite most of those solutions being 2D only we expect more 3D systems to appear to the market also.

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