- Synaptics has announced that it has created an in-display fingerprint sensor called Clear ID
- The sensors are currently in mass production in partnership with “a top five OEM”
- The company referenced “infinity displays” three times during the announcement – is Samsung involved?
Love them or hate them, phones with bezel-less displays are only getting more ubiquitous. It’s not just flagships anymore, either. Budget devices like the Honor 7X are proving that you don’t have to break the bank to get your hands on a “FullView” beauty.
2018 looks all set to be the year where bezel-less truly becomes bezel-less, with screen-to-body ratios expected to hit unprecedented heights. Yet while some won’t mourn the loss of redundant “foreheads” and “chins”, there’s one victim of the bezel-less revolution that continues to upset a cross-section of buyers: the death of the front-facing fingerprint sensor.
The most common solution so far has been to simply move the fingerprint sensor to the rear. This has worked out fine for some phones – the sensor on Google’s Pixel 2 XL works perfectly for me – but less so for others. I’m looking at you, Samsung.
Nevertheless, a front-facing sensor just makes more sense on the whole. It’s easier to access, makes using Android Pay far less clumsy, and generally caters to a much wider audience with variable hand/finger dexterity. Unfortunately, the industry’s obsession with a bezel-less future has pushed the front-facing sensor into extinction. Until now.
US biometrics company Synaptics has announced that it has perfected an in-display fingerprint sensor that is now in mass production in partnership with “a top five OEM”.
When implemented, the optical sensor technology, dubbed Clear ID, sits beneath a phone’s glass panel and delivers an authentication system that is “is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition and requires only one touch to access your smartphone.”
The Californian firm states that its sensors are fully capable in both wet or dry conditions and are fitted with anti-spoof technology and AES encryption. This is in addition to the physical protection provided by smartphone screens which will prevent scratches and damage (as long as you don’t smash it, I presume).
This is far from the first time we’ve heard about in-display fingerprint sensors, of course. Samsung was reportedly toying with the technology for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, then the Note 8, and it has recently been rumored for the upcoming Galaxy S9. Likewise, Apple allegedly had plans to include a Touch ID sensor within the iPhone X’s display before sticking with just Face ID, although Apple has since denied this was the case.
Synaptics was technically beaten to the punch back in June when Qualcomm unveiled its own under-display sensor technology. Yet, the news that Clear ID is in mass production is a big deal, especially when you read between the lines of the accompanying press release.
While the “top five OEM” part is vague enough, Synaptics used the term “infinity displays” three times, including once with a specific reference to OLED panels. What did Samsung call the displays on the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8 again?
Perhaps Synaptics’ sensor will make it to the Galaxy S9 after all. Only time will tell…
December 12, 2017 at 05:20AM