For a long time last year, much of the tech world thought that the iPhone X would feature a fingerprint sensor under the display. They expected new technology that would allow Apple to increase the screen size of the iPhone by killing the top and bottom bezels. As it eventually turned out, Apple did remove the home button and nearly the entire top bezel. But quite noticeably, it did not choose to integrate a Touch ID sensor into the many layers that are present on the iPhone X’s screen.
South Korean giant Samsung wasn’t able to pull it off either, and we can expect that the first Galaxy device featuring a fingerprint sensor in the screen to drop only in the second half of 2018.
Vivo Steals The Show
At CES 2018, however, the first smartphone in the world to launch with a fingerprint sensor under the screen was Chinese smartphone maker Vivo, and it was also shown in action live at the event.
Vivo is the company that partnered with Synaptics to use the latter’s technology and launch the first smartphone in the world with a fingerprint sensor under the display.
This Vivo phone is sporting an all-screen design. The Verge was able to test Synaptics’s Clear ID fingerprint sensor in a demo room backstage.
According to their report, the sensor works just as intended both when it comes to registering a new fingerprint and also when it comes to unlocking the device. Granted that the sensor is slower than a regular standalone sensor, but obviously, the technology will only get better.
The Verge claims that the procedure of setting up your fingerprint on the phone and then using it to unlock the device and do things like authenticating payments are the same as with a traditional fingerprint sensor. The only difference experienced was that the Vivo handset was just slower while trying to detect the user’s fingerprint and to unlock once the user puts his thumb on the on-screen fingerprint prompt. However, it was not as problematic as it was believed to be.
Clear ID is a piece of tech that only works with OLED screens, using the gaps between the pixels to scan the fingerprint.
Right now things are not clear on whether this flagship Vivo phone will be getting a launch or exactly how much it’ll cost. Vivo would definitely want to replace the micro USB port on the bottom with a USB-C one, however, the primary thing is that this device proves Clear ID technology works.
Alex Feng, Vivo’s Senior VP said that the solution is to give more convenient authentication experience to the user and make the phone ready for mass production by early 2018.
In terms of security, you can expect it will be the same level as the current scanners that are operating on flagship devices such as Vivo X20 and Samsung Galaxy S8 according to a Synaptics press message.