Late last year we saw Synaptics and Qualcomm announce that they were working on fingerprint sensors that sit underneath the glass of the front display. Unfortunately their consistency was not what it should be and did not end up in any of this years flagships (yet). Today at MWC Shanghai 2017, Qualcomm have announced their next-generation ultrasonic fingerprint solutions which are designed to overcome all the hurdles the previous generation faced.
The new generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology list of features includes sensors for display, glass and metal, detection of directional gestures, and device wake-up. Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display is the mobile industry’s first commercially announced multi-functional ultrasonic solution capable of scanning through OLED display stacks of up to 1200µm. Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal are the first commercially announced to scan through up to 800 µm of cover glass and up to 650 µm of aluminum. Just imagine how manufacturers could incorporate this into their new flagships.
Seshu Madhavapeddy, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. said that:
We are excited to announce Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors because they can be designed to support sleeker, cutting-edge form factors, unique mobile authentication experiences, and enhanced security authentication. This provides OEMs and operators with the ability to offer truly distinct, differentiated devices with added value on truly groundbreaking new devices.
Groundbreaking indeed. The new features give much more flexibility to manufacturers in their design of devices allowing much more unique form factors to be created. The good news is that the Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors are designed to work not only with the Snapdragon platforms but also with other non-Snapdragon platforms.
Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal are expected to be available to manufacturers this month, and are expected to arrive in commercial devices in the first half of 2018. Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display is expected to be available for manufacturers “to evaluate” in the fourth quarter of 2017, meaning we most likely will not see this commercially available until 2019 most likely.
Rumours have the iPhone arriving with a fingerprint sensor located under the front display and if this eventuates you can be sure that Android manufacturers will want to follow suit as soon as possible. I love the idea of an under the display fingerprint sensor and cannot wait for my daily driver to have one. Unfortunately it seems I could be waiting a while.