Next year you might be touching your phone’s fingerprint scanner and display at the same time, especially if Qualcomm gets the support it expects.
Late in 2016, Synaptics announced a fingerprint scanner that could be integrated into the glass of a phone’s display. Users would be able to just have the fingerprint scanner blend in with the display without the need for a dedicated spot elsewhere to analyze fingerprints. Things were lining up for Samsung’s Galaxy S8 to be the world’s first phone with the technology. But that didn’t happen. Despite investing a ton of money into Synaptics’ development, Samsung could achieve satisfying results for its 2017 flagship. So the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8 was relocated to the back.
Qualcomm is stepping forward to do what Synaptics and Samsung couldn’t. Needing to diversify its business, the company that makes processors for mobile devices announce it’s working to merge fingerprint scanners and displays. The difference and major advantage for Qualcomm’s technology would be the ability operate through metal and water in addition to glass.
The catch is that a Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm must be present for the technology to be active. And, with such a powerful technology on its hands, the company might limit it to the Snapdragon 800 series processors. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll see Snapdragon 600 series processors support it.
Devices with the technology should be ready for consumers in the first half of 2018. Qualcomm will initially make it available to partners in the final quarter of 2017; therefore, it’ll take a couple of months to go from testing to full production for mainstream hardware. You should expect next year’s flagships from companies like Samsung and LG will have fingerprint scanners in displays implemented before any other devices.