Qualcomm announced its in-screen fingerprint scanner solution at Mobile World Congress Shanghai last week. It also partnered with Vivo to showcase a demo phone with the fingerprint sensor built-in. And while the company said in its press release that its Fingerprint scanner for displays will start showing up in devices from summer 2018, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo does not believe that to be the case.
In his latest investor note, Kuo says that Qualcomm’s technology might work by placing the fingerprint scanner below the display, its speed and accuracy leave a lot to be desired. He also notes that Qualcomm demoed v2.1 of its fingerprint scanner through Vivo’s prototype model which offered better scan through and was able to differentiate between real and artificial fingers.
Despite these improvements in the latest prototype though, the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint scanner leave a lot to be desired. Additionally, the analyst says that Qualcomm will also have issues with the smartphone industry using its fingerprint solution since it requires a thinner cover glass and flexible OLED panels — features that not every smartphone OEM makes use of.
As per a poll conducted by Kuo, the majority of consumers are fine with the fingerprint scanner on their device being located at the rear. Until the ultrasonic fingerprint technology being developed to work through displays becomes more mature, it seems sensible for OEMs to stick to traditional fingerprint scanners that they have been using in their devices so far.
Apple is also expected to launch the iPhone 8 this year with an in-screen fingerprint scanner. The company has reportedly developed its own custom fingerprint solution to achieve this functionality. Since there have not been any leaks of Apple’s developed solution in action, it remains unknown if the company’s solution is as accurate and safe as the Touch ID sensor the company uses on its devices currently. Nonetheless, if the switch to an in-screen fingerprint scanner would have affected user experience negatively in any way, Apple would not have decided to go ahead with it on the iPhone 8.
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