The Vivo announcement is a surprise for another reason, too: When Qualcomm announced that it had developed pioneering in-display fingerprint sensor technology at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, it showcased the technology in a modified Vivo device. Now it looks like Chinese smartphone maker Vivo will be the first manufacturer that will be able to use the technology for its smartphones. This will allow manufacturers to maintain the design of their phones, while also keeping the fingerprint reader in a familiar area. It now transpires that it is Vivo, which is working with Synaptics on the project and the idea is to release all its new phones in 2018 with this fingerprint sensor technology and chucking the rear mounted one.
Named "Clear ID", these are expected to work exactly like the home button fingerprint sensors. While many predicted that Samsung would be the company to launch the first phone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor, it seems, that won't be the case. Forbes contributor Patrick Moorhead has revealed it to be the latter scenario after he got to use a pre-production unit from Vivo and test Clear ID.
Apple's iPhone X left some fans disappointed as a result of the lack of a front fingerprint sensor on the device.
"The OLED display illuminates the fingerprint, the sensor scans it and sends it back to the phone's processor (or host or application processor, depending on your preferred term) to be matched", the report reads. According to Moorhead who used a prototype of a Vivo-branded smartphone, it's faster than using something like Face ID and only appears when you need it. Moreover, Synaptics claimed their in-house tech is twice as fast as Apple's Face ID.
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Apple reportedly tried to put the feature into its $999/£999 iPhone X but didn't have the tech ready in time. With Clear ID, Synaptics is looking to offer an even more seamless solution.
In-screen fingerprint sensors have been considered as a natural evolution of modern biometric sensors as the smartphone displays this year moved to an edge-to-edge concept.
Vivo isn't particularly well-known in Western markets, but is popular in India as the fourth-biggest smartphone maker and holds a similar position in China.