Press release

Forget the Fold: Biometrics and Ultrasound Technologies Are Better Bets for Full-Display Smartphones

Sponsored by Businesswire

In the vigorous pursuit of full-display smartphones, vendors are either
increasing screen-to-body size ratios or offering a foldable or flexible
screen. However, considering the recent debacle with foldable screens,
full-display smartphones will initially be best realized through
improved biometric technologies, ultrasound, and gesture control. ABI
, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic
guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, forecasted
that camera-based recognition will be a dominant smartphone biometric
technology, reaching 487 million shipments in 2023, followed by
in-display fingerprint scanners with nearly 228 shipments in 2023.

“Many of these technologies allow vendors to develop smartphones with
larger overall screen sizes by reducing the need for sensors, buttons,
and other features on the front screen,” said Stephanie Tomsett, a
Research Analyst at ABI Research. “They allow devices to have minimal
bezels, thereby creating a relatively smaller form factor for an
increase in display size, which can also be achieved, eventually,
through the use of foldable screens.”

With many new interfaces developing, the use of in-display fingerprint
scanners removes the need for an additional sensor or button on the
front of the device, putting the technology behind the screen. Camera
notches and punch-holes, such as Samsung’s O, U, and V Infinity
Displays, also add to the increase in screen real estate on the front of
the device, while sound technologies such as LG’s Crystal Sound OLED use
the display as a speaker, removing the need to house speakers on the
front of the device. The use of ultrasound gesture control technologies
does not require additional sensors to be on the front of the device.

Vendors are keen to develop new technologies and ways in which to
increase the smartphone screen-to-body size ratio, driving toward
designs with complete glass front displays while keeping form factor
size to a minimum. As this next wave of innovation approaches, the
market is braced to provide more immersive experiences based on touch
and touch-less UI experiences. Rumors suggest that Apple is working
toward creating a smartphone with no holes, speakers, or grilles,
utilizing many of these technologies, which is similar in concept to a
device that Meizu has developed. There will be a requirement for
significant investment in these underpinning technologies, and many
companies have patents in place that will further aid this push toward a
full front, immersive screen experience. Apple has a patent for an
iPhone that allows the screen to be a speaker, Samsung has a patent for
a smartphone that allows the screen to be a camera, and LG has a patent
for a smartphone outlining a full screen, all display device. However,
with any number of options, including foldable displays, open to
vendors, there is some debate as to how these options can be used in
tandem, and whether some will be become obsolete due to their lack of
utility, excessive added costs, or delivery of poor user experiences.

“Vendors looking to develop bezel-less screens need to be aware of the
issues and challenges surrounding the technology. In particular, the
bezels help to provide protection for the sides of the smartphone, so
alternative methods of protection need to be found. They also prevent
accidental interaction with the side of the screen, so responsiveness
technologies need to be explored to ensure that consumers do not become
frustrated with unwanted interactions,” concluded Tomsett.

These findings are from ABI Research’s New
Smartphone, Tablet, and Wearable Form Factors and Technologies

application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Smartphones
and Wearables
research service, which includes research, data, and
executive foresights. Based on extensive primary interviews, application
reports present in-depth analyses of key market trends and
factors for a specific application, which could focus on an individual
market or geography.

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market
foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which
reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business
models, and drive new revenue streams. ABI Research’s own research
visionaries take stances on those technologies early, publishing
groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory
firms. ABI Research’s analysts deliver their conclusions and
recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper
context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now
and inspire their businesses to realize a bigger picture. For more
information about subscribing to ABI’s Research Services as well as
Industrial and Custom Solutions, visionaries can contact us at
+1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe,
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