Technology

First Phone With In-display Fingerprint Sensor Shown, And Its From Vivo

Vivo has beaten Apple, Samsung and others, to unveil the first smartphone with an under display fingerprint sensor. The Chinese tech company worked in collaboration with Synaptics to make this smartphone, which it showcased at the CES 2018.

under display fingerprint sensor
Image Source: Vivo/YouTube (screenshot)

How Vivo’s under display fingerprint sensor works

During the MWC in Shanghai in 2017, Vivo first talked about the under display fingerprint sensor technology. The prototype showcased by the company, transmitted the fingerprint from the glass to the sensor beneath with the help of ultrasonic signals. Now, the near-final design makes use of the optical signal, allowing the sensor to see right through the display, according to GSMArena.

The Vivo smartphone demoed at the CES carried a small blue button icon, which was visible on the locked smartphone at the lower portion of the screen, the place which commonly houses the home button and fingerprint sensor. As the finger is placed on the icon, the phone is unlocked, and the sensor icon fades with the lower portion of the screen functioning just like any other phone.

The OLED display of the phone illuminates the portion where the user needs to place their finger. Then the light reflected on the finger is captured by the sensor lying under the display.

However, registering one’s fingerprint might take more time with the in-display fingerprint sensor than doing it with the physical fingerprint sensor button. This is mainly because the sensor tracks the fingerprint through the display. However, once the user registers their fingerprint, unlocking the phone is hassle-free just like any other fingerprint sensor.

A breakthrough technology

Fingerprint sensors have recently shifted to the back or the sides as the companies have aggressively pushed towards the bezel-less display. However, under the screen sensor technology comes just at the right time.

Canalys, the global consultancy firm, reveals that the smartphone vendors shipped 22 million full-screen smartphones globally in the second-quarter of 2017, an increase from 700,000 in the first-quarter of that year. According to UBI Research, the bezel-less display will see their share rise from 20% in 2017 to over 50% in 2020. There are good possibilities that a significant portion to this number will be contributed by the smartphones with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

With the groundbreaking technology already taking shape, its comparison to Apple’s Face ID is obvious. There have been reports of Face IDs failing at times. This gives an upper edge to the under-display sensor. Further, manufacturers can now opt for the sensor at the front without compromising on the bezel. Synaptics has also made it clear that the security of the in-display fingerprint scanner’s authentication would be equally good when compared to the technologies in premium devices such as Pixel 2 and OnePlus 5T.

As of now, there is no information on the device that was used to demo the in-display fingerprint sensor. However, PhoneRadar recently spotted a Vivo X20 Plus UD variant on China’s 3C certification website. The said handset is expected to come with an under-display fingerprint sensor as the letters UD in the model name likely indicates “under display.” No further details are available on the handset. However, specifications are expected to be somewhat similar to the Vivo X20 Plus, which was launched recently.