Qualcomm has unveiled the next-generation of its 3D Sonic under-display fingerprint sensor, which could get a quick debut within the Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones.
The new, second-generation 3D Sonic Sensor is 50% faster than the original, the chipmaker says, thanks to its ability to collect 1.7x more biometric data. Qualcomm says the new sensor has a 77% larger read area (8mm x 8mm compared with 7mm x 4mm) than its predecessor, but is only 0.2mm thick, making it easier for smartphone manufacturers to include the reader within “cutting edge form factors.”
The company says in a blog post: “The larger sensor provides a larger region for you to place your finger and allows Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor to capture 1.7x more biometric data. This larger sensor combined with faster processing will be 50% faster than Gen 1 so you can unlock your device quicker than ever.”
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The current iteration of the tech had appeared within the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20 phones, so we’ll almost certainly see this within the Galaxy S21 range, which will be revealed on January 14.
It’s a speed boost that’ll be hugely useful to smartphone owners who were frustrated with the time taken to unlock their phone compared to optical sensors. Fingerprint sensors as a whole are enjoying a renaissance, of sorts, because of the problems facial recognition tools have with face masks.
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Given we’re pretty much wearing masks constantly, while in public or outdoors, unlocking phones has become a lot more of a pain and we’re often resorting to passcodes once again. Apple resolved to make things slightly easier earlier this year, when it removed the need for a failed attempt to be registered before users could ask to enter their passcodes instead.
As we’re likely to see a general public much more conscious about wider community health once the population has been vaccinated, we might see fingerprint sensors enjoy a real bounce back year in 2021 and beyond.
Qualcomm says the sensor will begin appearing in phones in the early part of 2021, presumably starting with the Galaxy S21 range later this week.