Analysis

Fingerprint-on-display market takes off in 2019

20th May 2020
Alex Lynn

Global shipments of fingerprint-on-display (FoD) sensors expanded by nearly a factor of eight in 2019 as these devices increasingly replace conventional silicon-based capacitive chips in smartphones.

A total of 228.3 million FoD sensors were shipped in 2019, up 674% from 29.5 million in 2018, according Omdia. With FoD sensors having reached the sweet spot for market pricing, FoD shipments are expected to continue rising at a tremendous rate in 2020, expanding to more than 400 million units, as reported by the Omdia ‘Display Fingerprint (FoD) Technology & Market Report – 2020’.

“FoD sensors have become a critical biometric identification technology for smartphones,” said Calvin Hsieh, Director, touch and user interface at Omdia. “Today’s smartphone displays are longer than ever, completely covering the front sides of handsets and leaving no space to locate capacitive fingerprint sensor chips on the surface. FoD sensors bypass this issue because they are hidden beneath the display, allowing them to avoid influencing the appearance of smartphones. This advantage is generating massive demand growth for FoD sensors.”

Besides Apple, most smartphone brands have adopted FoD as an advanced biometric identification technology to replace capacitive fingerprint chips. More than 70 smartphone models integrated FoD in 2019.

FoD can offer the same type of user experience of fingerprint recognition experience as capacitive chips, without requiring any learning. The invisibility of FoD also gives smartphone makers the freedom to offer a handset design absent of any notches. FoD technologies are mature and affordable, so the average selling price of a fingerprint module ASP can be as low as about $3 to $4, which is more cost-effective than alternative 3D facial recognition technologies.

Major FoD technologies include optical imaging CMOS image sensor (CIS) and ultrasonic echoing solutions. Samsung adopted Qualcomm’s ultrasonic solution for the Galaxy S10, S20 and Note 10 series, but opted to use EgisTec’s optical imaging CIS solution on the Galaxy A series.

Goodix is the leading FoD solution supplier with a 50% market share. The company has benefited from sales to Chinese smartphone brands.

Optical imaging CIS solutions accounted for a 79% shipment share of the FoD market, while the ultrasonic approach held 21% of the market in 2019. Due to growing market demand and more suppliers entering the business, Omdia estimates the optical imaging CIS solutions will grab an 88% share of shipments in 2020. FoD solution providers are also offering thinner microlens types of FoD solutions, which can reduce space usage to make room for more battery capacity inside of smartphones.

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