Qualcomm unveiled the latest version of its fingerprint sensor on the display, promising a faster and more accurate scan for a technology brought back into the spotlight by the ongoing pandemic. Although for a time it looked like face recognition would replace fingerprint login as the preferred way to unlock your phone, the fact that such systems struggle with face masks has led to a resurgence of interest.
It is one that Qualcomm intends to capitalize on. The company first launched its 3D Sonic sensors for digitizing fingerprints on display two years ago, with the technology present in the last two generations of Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships, among other devices.
Now, it’s time for the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2. As before, it was designed to fit under glass or metal and scan fingerprints through it. This time, however, it is only 0.2 mm thick.
This means, says Qualcomm, that the acoustic scanning technology can be positioned in more unusual ways. The scanning area is also bigger this time. Whereas the previous system had a scanning area of 4 x 9 mm, this Gen 2 version increases to 8 x 8 mm, or a 77 percent larger patch. This should make it less frustrating to try to align your fingertip to the precise point on the screen where the sensor is underneath.
In the process, Qualcomm says, the larger scanning area also means that the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 can collect 1.7x more biometric data. The result is a 50 percent increase in speed, facing another persistent nuisance from some of the phones that rely on the first generation system.
News of the new sensor arrives shortly after Qualcomm has updated its Snapdragon chipset line, both with the Snapdragon 888 for next-generation devices and with more affordable versions in recent weeks. The Snapdragon 480 5G, for example, is expected to bring 5G connectivity – including Sub-6 GHz and mmWave network types – to a much more affordable range of devices, potentially even around the $ 200 or less mark.
As for the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2, Qualcomm says we can expect phones using the new chipset in early 2021.