In-Display Fingerprint Sensor Soon To Be A Reality


Synaptics has announced that the mass production of its in-display fingerprint sensor has begun in partnership with “a top five OEM.” In a statement, Synaptics stated that the optical scanner “excels with wet, dry and cold fingers” and is “durable, scratchproof and waterproof.” Synaptics will showcase the new technology at the CES in January 2018.

In-display fingerprint sensor – how it’s better

Synaptics’ in-display fingerprint sensor – named Clear ID FS9500 – is designed to be placed under the screen of a smartphone, and activates when a user does the authentication process. Once the sensor detects the finger, the OLED display will light up the finger and the sensor would scan the fingerprint. The “matcher” would then verify the image to confirm that the imprint is that of the original user.

To distinguish between spoofs and actual fingers, there is a PurePrint anti-spoof technology in place, the company says. Further, the SecureLink tech includes support for TLS protocol with ECC authentication and AES encryption. Although the sensor can be placed anywhere on the screen, Synaptics has released some basic guidelines for positioning the sensor.

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Kevin Barber, SVP and GM of Synaptics’ mobile division said, “Consumers prefer fingerprint authentication on the front of the phone, and with the industry quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays, the natural placement of the fingerprint sensor is in the display itself.”

Barber further stated that Synaptics’ in-display fingerprint sensor is safer than the alternative biometrics, and this technology represents a major innovation shift and opportunity for the smartphone market. Further, the company stated that Clear ID is two times faster than the 3D facial recognition.  Also, facial recognition can fail at certain angles, but according to Synaptics, their new product works well even when a device is “sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount.”

“Top five” OEM – who could it be?

According to Synaptics, the in-display fingerprint sensor would also support large-size displays, a common trend seen with smartphones nowadays. However, Synaptics has not revealed the smartphone manufacturer included in the “top five” OEM. In terms of worldwide smartphone sales, the top five could mean Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, or Vivo, while the U.S. list includes LG, Motorola, and HTC (apart from Apple and Samsung).

It must be noted that the company has supplied display components to Apple in the past. However, chances are that Synaptics is referring to an Android manufacturer this time. Apple has gone with the Face ID in the iPhone X, and rumors are that the company will use the same authentication method in the 2018 iPhones. Also, there are reports that Apple is working to bring the Face ID to more devices in 2018, like the iPad Pro.

So, there are good chances that the Samsung Note 9 could carry the new sensor. Since, Synaptics has announced that the mass production has just begun, chances of the Galaxy S9 coming with the fingerprint sensor fades. Samsung usually launches its Galaxy S phones in the beginning of the year and Note phones in the late summer.