In-display fingerprint scanners have been expected for some time, but now they're becoming a reality. Synaptics announced earlier this week that it finally figured out how to integrate a fingerprint scanner into a display while maintaining fast and accurate authentication.
When Synatpics made its announcement, an unnamed brand was said to be working on a high-end Android device featuring the technology. It appeared as if Samsung was the mysterious partner because there have been several reports suggesting the Galaxy S9 would ship with an in-display fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S8 released in 2017 was expected to have one, but production issues caused a last-minute change to have a traditional rear-based fingerprint scanner. But it turns out that Samsung is not going to release the first phone boasting Synaptics' groundbreaking technology.
Vivo, a subsidiary of BBK Electronics, has confirmed it will be first to implement an in-display fingerprint scanner on a consumer-ready product.
Although Vivo hasn't said anything about the phone's design or specifications, we have an idea of what the experience using an in-display will be like. Synaptics shared an image of a Vivo-branded prototype. The user simply places his or her finger on the bottom of the display where the component is positioned beneath the glass. Like any other fingerprint scanner does, this one instantly analyzes the fingerprint and decides whether or not access is granted.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst sharing his take on the technology with Forbes, says the in-display fingerprint scanner executed faster than expected. Synaptics, meanwhile, says its technology is twice as fast as the facial recognition on Apple's iPhone X.
Vivo may be first to implement the technology, but Samsung probably isn't going to be too far behind. The South Korean company was recently given a patent for its own propriety solution. Although it's unlikely for Samsung to have the technology ready in time for the Galaxy S9 in February or March, its in-display fingerprint scanner could debut on the Galaxy Note 9 next summer.
Keep in mind that Vivo isn't an irrelevant brand. It doesn't have a presence in the United States and other markets, but BBK Electronics' most popular subsidiary ranks near the top in units sold. Vivo sees a ton of success in emerging markets like India where affordable hardware thrives above anything else.
When TechnoBuffalo heads to Las Vegas for CES 2018 in January, we'll be sure to get our hands on Synatpics' in-display fingerprint scanner. The company already confirmed it'll have units available for testing at the trade show.