Putting a fingerprint sensor under the glass of a smartphone screen has always felt like something ripped out of a sci-fi movie. It’s something OEMs, especially in recent years, have been trying to crack the code on. Today, Qualcomm has revealed that it has figured it out and has a fingerprint sensor that works under the display.
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Qualcomm’s new fingerprint sensors, a brand new area of business for the company best known for its mobile chipsets, are set to make their debut in consumer devices next year. These sensors work through ultrasonic technology and can not only recognize a fingerprint, but can also take measurements such as blood flow and heart rate. Qualcomm has even shown these in action already.
The only big catch with these sensors is that, for now at least, they only work under specific conditions. A device will need to be using a display panel under 1200 μm, meaning traditional LCDs won’t work. OLED panels, on the other hand, will.
Following the debut of phones like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, most people are convinced that mostly bezel-less phones are the future. However, as we’ve seen with Samsung’s phones, that can lead to some problems with some of the things that usually come on the front of the phone.
In Samsung’s case that was the fingerprint sensor and, with the S8’s design especially, it felt like an under-display sensor was always the goal (which it was). Putting a fingerprint sensor under the display just makes sense for phones like this and it’s going to be exciting to see next year’s crop of phones using the tech.
Along with that announcement, Qualcomm also revealed two new processors. The first is the Snapdragon Wear 1200, a new chipset designed for devices such as wearables. Unlike the Wear 2100, this isn’t something that can run a typical smartwatch, but it’s an ideal companion for things such as fitness trackers and IoT devices.
The Snapdragon 450 has also been revealed, a major upgrade to the company’s 400-series processors. The new chipset is based on a 14nm process which leads to better battery life and performance. Qualcomm says that battery life jumps as much as 4 hours with the 450 vs the 435.
This new chipset can also handle more demanding tasks such as 60fps video, higher resolution cameras, faster data transfer via USB 3.0, and it can even hit a clock speed of 1.8GHz.
The Snapdragon 450 looks to be a very capable chipset for mid-range devices, but we’ll have to wait just a little while to see it in devices. Qualcomm says that it won’t start shipping until Q4, so the earliest we’ll probably see devices running on it is likely October or November.