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Qualcomm’s new fingerprint scanner might put Touch ID to shame

by Jacob Kleinman | March 3, 2015March 3, 2015 8:00 am EST

Apple Touch ID may be one of the best smartphone fingerprint scanners on the market, but there’s still room for improvement. Enter Qualcomm with a new alternative called Snapdragon Sense ID that it says should work better than anything we’ve seen before.

What separates Qualcomm from the rest of the pack is the decision to use ultrasonic waves, creating a 3D map of your fingerprint compared to the 2D scanners offered by Apple and Samsung. The result is a more accurate reading that’s also more secure. As an added bonus, Snapdragon Sense ID should work even when your finger is wet, which definitely isn’t the case with Touch ID.

Qualcomm also notes that its ultrasonic reader will work through pretty much any material, including sapphire, steel, aluminum or plastic. That means its biometric reader could be built into any part of the device, instead of requiring a special designated spot. You might see the technology integrated into the bezel of future devices, or even built right into the display.

Snapdragon Sense ID will come built into upcoming Qualcomm chips in the near future, and as a separate module as well. The company says we should see the first devices using its technology hit the market before the end of the year, though for now it’s unclear which phone-makers are onboard to use the new sensor.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...