comscore Synaptics' new tech could kill the physical home button in smartphones
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Synaptics' new tech could kill the physical home button in smartphones

The fingerprint scanner could work through glass, placed under the display, allowing OEMs to save more space on the front panel.

Synaptics

Synaptics has introduced what it calls industry-first optical-based fingerprint scanners for smartphones and tablets. Synaptics is one of the old partners of Samsung and has been building fingerprint scanners for the company’s flagship smartphones. It is worth noting that Samsung s next generation Galaxy S8 has been widely rumored to skip home button and rather have the fingerprint scanner embedded in the display. Synaptics latest technology paves the way for Samsung to actually do so with the Galaxy S8, which is also rumored to be a bezel-less device. Also Read - Amazon Prime Day sale deals revealed: Discount on OnePlus Nord CE, Mi 11X, Samsung Galaxy M42

Also Read - Galaxy A22 replaces M42 5G to become the cheapest 5G Samsung phone in India

As far as Synaptics latest fingerprint technology goes, the company says the Natural ID FS9100 optical fingerprint sensors can be placed beneath the cover glass including a 2.5D glass up front. The scanner, which is available for both smartphones and tablets, also allows companies to have a button-less design without compromising the biometric security features. Under cover glass biometrics eliminates button cut-outs and glass thinning processes required by capacitive under-glass sensors, leading to glass yield improvements. The highly reliable FS9100 optical solution excels with wet finger performance, and being protected by glass, is durable, scratchproof, waterproof, and eliminates ESD concerns, elaborates the company on its website. Also Read - Gorilla Glass DX, DX+ to now protect your phone cameras, will debut on a Samsung phone

The sensors also come with a PurePrint anti-spoof technology, which the company explains, examines fingerprint images through an artificial intelligence technology to help distinguish between fake and actual fingerprints.

Optical sensing technology, which is very high performance and widely proven in other markets, has many advantages such as durability, scratch resistance, and resistance to ESD, but optical has not been widely adopted in smartphones and tablets due to form factor and power consumption limitations. Synaptics is enabling the elimination of the home button which is a critical next step to full top-to-bottom, edge-to-edge smartphone and tablet displays, says Les Santiago, Research Director for IDC.

The fingerprint sensors are slated to go into mass production in the second quarter of next calendar year, which also almost coincides with the recent rumors of the Galaxy S8 going on sale in March-end before being officially unveiled in February at MWC 2017. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8 may have all-screen design

That said, Synaptics isn t the first company to have introduced such feature. Earlier, Qualcomm introduced Sense ID, which works through glass, sapphire, aluminum, stainless steel, and plastics. The recently launched, Xiaomi Mi 5s is among first wave of smartphones to feature Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint sensor under glass.

If Samsung does go ahead with Synaptics optic-based fingerprint sensors, the move could start off a new trend in the smartphone industry. Already, bezel-less or all-display smartphones have started to make their way to the market, and most likely 2017 will be the year of such smartphones. Such optic-based fingerprint scanners could also mark the end of physical buttons on smartphones.

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  • Published Date: December 14, 2016 1:30 PM IST


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