Qualcomm has finally found another partner for its 3D Sonic Sensors. The San Diego, California-based chipmaker has announced a new partnership with display maker BOE. As part of the partnership, BOE Technology Group Co. Ltd will develop display products featuring Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensors. This comes amidst a time when South Korean smartphone maker Samsung seemed to be having exclusive access to the sensor. For Qualcomm, the announcement could become the easiest way to put this sensor on a wide array of smartphones. Also Read - India will get Snapdragon 6 Series powered 5G smartphone this year: Qualcomm
The fabless semiconductor company announced 3D Sonic Sensors at Snapdragon Tech Summit in 2018. The sensor made its debut on the Galaxy S10 series early last year. The ultrasonic sensor relies on sound waves to read the valleys and ridges of fingers. Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor transmits an ultrasonic pulse against the finger to create a detailed 3D reproduction of a scanned finger. Unlike traditional in-display fingerprint sensors, which clicks photos to authenticate, this sensor is found to be much safer. Also Read - Xiaomi teams up with ISRO and Qualcomm to bring NavIC technology to Redmi smartphones
Qualcomm taps BOE for 3D Sonic Sensors
However, that safety did not really translate into wide scale adoption. More than a year after its launch, the 3D Sonic Sensor is still used only by Samsung. Even on Samsung, there was an issue when the sensor could be bypassed exploiting a software glitch. It has also been found to be slower than traditional in-display fingerprint sensors. Qualcomm has not only weathered the criticism but has also sustained Samsung’s partnership. Now, the company is adding BOE as a second partner to push the technology further. Also Read - Qualcomm 3D Sonic Max announced with simultaneous two finger recognition and better security
The idea of this partnership is rather simple. Instead of selling the sensor, BOE will sell displays embedded with this sensor. The company will incorporate the sensor into its flexible OLED panels. For a smartphone maker, the deal becomes lucrative since it eliminates the need to procure another component. Qualcomm also sees this helping with streamlined supply chains and reduced bill of materials. The chipmaker said in a statement that commercial devices featuring this integrated solution will become available in the second half of 2020.
While Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensors are aimed at smartphones, the company sees its use case beyond mobile devices. It sees the sensor being integrated into self-driving cars for authentication. It also sees this sensor being integrated into other smart IoT devices. In this quest, Qualcomm has been shrinking the footprint of the sensor and increasing the area of recognition. The partnership with BOE, announced today, will play a key role in that ambition. The company said the partnership will extend from mobile and associated 5G technologies to extended reality and IoT.