VIENNA (Reuters) - Sensor specialist AMS is teaming up with Chinese software maker Face++ to produce new 3D facial recognition features for smartphones, as the Austrian firm aims to reduce its dependency on Apple and boost its battered shares.
AMS provides Apple with optical sensors for 3D facial recognition features on its newest iPhones and generates around 45 percent of sales from it, according to analysts. Lower than expected demand for these phones, especially in China, has put pressure on AMS recently.
The deal with Face++ will potentially help AMS get its 3D optical sensors integrated into more Android devices - competitors to Apple products. Technological challenges have made that difficult for AMS so far.
The deal follows a similar cooperation with U.S. firm Qualcomm, on whose technology many Windows phones are based.
At 1110 GMT, AMS’s Swiss-listed shares were up 10 percent at 20.68 Swiss francs after trading as high as 21.06 francs. The stock fell nearly 75 percent last year.
So far, China’s Xiaomi is the only maker of Android-based smartphones that AMS has disclosed as a customer. Analysts think Huawei’s Mate20 Pro phones also use AMS’s sensors.
Under the new tie-up, Face++ will provide software to process the optical data collected by AMS’s sensors.
“By linking our 3D sensing systems with Face++ technology, we are enabling manufacturers to add these popular features to their products quickly and smoothly,” AMS’s Executive Vice-President & General Manager for Optical Sensor Solutions, Ulrich Huewels, said.
AMS and the Chinese artificial intelligence software specialist said their corporation would enable manufacturers to offer functions such as facial payments and augmented reality more quickly.
“Together, AMS and Face++ are showing that 3D sensing solutions are ready for the mainstream now in every market sector, from consumer to automotive, medical and industrial electronics,” Huewels said.
“Manufacturers will benefit hugely from avoiding the development risk and time associated with 3D sensing software and hardware integration,” said Wu Wenhao, Senior Vice President of Face++.
Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter