Leading laptop touchpad manufacturer Synaptics, Incorporated (NASDAQ:SYNA) has announced that it’s planning to launch a touchpad for laptops with a fingerprint scanner built into it. The company calls the new touchpad “SecurePad” and said it will use a capacitive sensor similar to what the iPad Mini 3 and the Galaxy S5 have.
Synaptics improves on current laptop fingerprint readers
Fingerprint scanners have already been on laptops for years, but Synaptics’ new touchpad scanner will be the first of its kind for notebook computers. The current fingerprint scanners require users to swipe their thumb or finger across them, and they’re not part of the computer’s touchpad.
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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the first to incorporate a fingerprint scanner into a handheld device with the iPhone 5S. Needless to say, the scanners that require users to swipe their finger across them wouldn’t work well on smartphones because of their small size compared to the size of laptops.
Details on the new laptop sensor
According to Engadget, Synaptics will put the fingerprint sensor in the top left corner of its touchpad. It’s unclear why the company decided to do this or whether it has anything to do with ergonomics.
However, Redmond Pie‘s Zayed Rehman speculates that the placement is to make it easier to reach the fingerprint sensor while typing. He suggests also that the reason for making it so easy to reach the fingerprint sensor while typing is because it could be used for much more than just unlocking the laptop.
We’ve now seen with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus some ideas about what a fingerprint sensor could be used for in addition to unlocking devices. Apple rolled out its Apple Pay service, which requires use of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to make payments.
A fingerprint sensor embedded into a laptop touchpad could also make it fast and easy for users to log into a wide array of services without even having to type in a password.
When will we start seeing the new touchpad?
Synaptics said manufacturers will be able to begin incorporating its new touchpad into products as soon as it becomes available. However, no manufacturers have announced plans to be the first to add the touchpad to their laptops. Synaptics expects it to be built into some of the more expensive Ultrabooks in the beginning, but low-end laptops may eventually see the technology added.