According to Strategy Analytics (SA), a US market research firm, this year saw 852 million smartphones with fingerprint recognition functions
Front fingerprint sensors continued to account for the 90% level. The proportion was 92 sell this year. It is expected that they accounted for 55%, more than the half of the total global smartphone sales.
In 2013, smartphones with fingerprint recognition functions accounted for 3% only. The ratio rose to 10% in 2014, 23% in 2015, and 44% in 2016, quickly becoming a popular feature of premium smartphones. Lately, even low-priced phones at the 300,000 won (US$270) level such as the Galaxy J5 have been loaded with fingerprint recognition functions.
Front fingerprint sensors which were the mainstream have been relegated by rear fingerprint sensors. Products with fingerprint sensors on the back are expected to add up to 354.6 million this year, accounting for 42%. Next, they are expected to be followed by front sensors (37%) and glass integrated sensors (19%). It was forecast that the percentage of display-integrated sensors will rise to 2% this year from 0% of last year, SA predicted. Unlike the glass-integrated type whose sensor is mounted under protection tempered glass, the integrated display type recognizes a fingerprint when a finger touches the screen as the sensor is on the display.
% in 2013, 99% in 2014, and 92% in 2015, but dropped to 52% last year. However, that of rear fingerprint sensors was 1% in both 2013 and 2014 and ballooned to 8% in 2015 and 33% in 2016.
SA predicts that as the number of smartphones adopting fingerprint sensors continues to increase in years to come, the number of front fingerprint buttons will shrink and rear sensors and glass-integrated sensors will become popular.
SA predicted that in 2020, the number of fingerprint recognition smartphones will reach 1.45 billion units, or 80 percent of the total and 47% will be rear sensors, 25%, integrated glass sensors, 20%, front sensors and 6%, display integrated sensors.
The fingerprint sensor was first applied by Apple in 2013 through the Touch ID on the iPhone 5. Samsung Electronics introduced a big screen display on the Galaxy S8 earlier this year and moved the fingerprint sensor to the back. Google, Huawei and LG also introduced rear fingerprint sensors.
Earlier, there were speculations that Apple and Samsung Electronics will load the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy Note 8 with fingerprint scanning technology but the companies reportedly gave up the plan due to technical problems.
"The spread of various mobile payment services is fueling the adoption of fingerprint recognition functions," an industry representative said. “Although each manufacturer is developing display-based fingerprint scanning technology, reportedly, it is difficult to commercialize it. Therefore, it will be difficult to use smartphones with display-based fingerprint scanning technology soon."