Qualcomm has announced a new in-display fingerprint technology that the company says is ready to go. This means manufacturers can already start using it. With that in mind, the first smartphones with screens embedded with the fingerprint sensor will arrive in 2019.
Apple made a big splash when it included a fingerprint sensor (Touch ID) on its iPhone 5S in 2013. As usual, the company was not the first to release the tech but showed how it could function for mass appeal. Since then, the implementation of the fingerprint sensor has remained static, usually via a physical button.
Only now, five years after the debut of TouchID, is the implementation method changing. Huawei with its Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus with the OnePlus 6T have included fingerprint sensors embedded in the display. The obvious benefit of this implementation is it allows manufacturers to keep the sensor on the front of the device while maintaining the all-screen aesthetic that is widely popular.
Qualcomm has approached the in-display fingerprint sensor differently. Huawei and OnePlus use optical scanners, whereas Qualcomm is using a new tech that leverages ultrasonic waves. These waves work under the screen to read the user’s print.
Called the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor, the company says the module offers benefits over existing technology. Chief among those benefits is more accuracy, and the ability to read a fingerprint through a wider range of contaminants.
Because it uses waves, the 3D Sonic Sensor is cleaner, faster, and more secure. As always with Qualcomm technology, the company will be licensing its creation to smartphone OEMs. The chipmaker says the sensor is good to go, so those first devices should arrive during 2019.
It is worth noting that while manufacturers continue to pursue a more efficient fingerprint scanning experience, the company that started the trend is moving away from fingerprints. Apple now has its Face ID technology, which allows users to lock and secure their iPhone with facial recognition.