Smartphones have been using fingerprint scanning technologies to authenticate mobile users for years, dating all the way back to 2007 with the Toshiba G500 and G900. However, it wasn't adopted by mainstream companies until later, with Apple releasing their first smartphone equipped with "Touch ID" in 2013 — the iPhone 5s.
Trends have changed and users want devices with the smallest bezels possible, bottom to top and left to right. Some companies like Samsung have resorted to placing their fingerprint scanners on the back of the device, to make room for larger screens (and smaller bezels on the front). Apple dropped their fingerprint scanning technology "Touch ID" all together with their recently released iPhone X. There were rumors that Apple tried to implement Touch ID under the display, but those claims were denied by Apple:
"I heard some rumor [that] we couldn't get Touch ID to work through the glass so we had to remove that," Riccio says, answering a question about whether there were late design changes. "When we hit early line of sight on getting Face ID to be [as] good as it was, we knew that if we could be successful we could enable the product that we wanted to go off and do and if that's true it could be something that we could burn the bridges and be all in with. This is assuming it was a better solution. And that's what we did. So we spent no time looking at fingerprints on the back or through the glass or on the side because if we did those things, which would be a last-minute change, they would be a distraction relative to enabling the more important thing that we were trying to achieve, which was Face ID done in a high-quality way."
Today we have a company who has successfully tackled this problem with a solution called "Clear ID", developed by Synaptics. Synaptics says that Clear ID is faster and more secure than current biometric technologies. Clear ID is embedded underneath the screen, and can scan a fingerprint by sending signals through an OLED display. This enables manufacturers to reduce bezel size whil simultaneously supporting fingerprint authentication.
It is reportedly shipping in a Vivo smartphone, with more information after CES 2018
Watch this video about the scanning solution:
The video describes how the scanning technology works:
- Piezoelectric effects used to produce and receive ultrasonic signals.
- Signals pass through the OLED screen.
- Producing different reflection strengths at the fingerprint ridges and fingerprint valleys.
- Generates a fingerprint image.
- Achieving fingerprint identification under the display.
What do you think? Would you choose a phone solely based on whether or not it has fingerprint scanning technology? Let us know in the comments below!