Vivo showed off a working prototype with a limited fingerprint recognition area under the display. But in theory, this technology can be applied to the entire screen.

Vivo, not Samsung, could be first to put fingerprint sensors into phone screens

Earlier at MWC 2017 in Shanghai, Qualcomm announced the next generation of ultrasonic fingerprint scanners. The first phase includes enhanced sensors that can scan through thicker glass and aluminium, which will be available to OEMs this month. The second phase – always the more exciting phase – is really what we’ve been waiting for: in-display fingerprint scanning. Qualcomm’s upcoming in-display fingerprint scanner lets ultrasonic signals pass through OLED display stacks of up to 1200um and offers a more secure solution than its optical and capacitive counterpart.

Well, it looks like Vivo first called dibs on that new fingerprint scanner. Engadget was able to play with a working prototype based on the existing Xplay6, and for the most part, Qualcomm’s new technology seems promising. The way it works for the end-user should be a familiar process: register your fingerprint by placing your finger on a marked area of the screen, and you should be good to go. While the prototype offers a limited recognition area, Vivo’s demonstrators claim that in theory, it could be applied to the entire screen.

Engadget notes that while it was able to use the in-display fingerprint scanner without any difficulty, it did notice a slight delay.

Engadget notes that while it was able to use the in-display fingerprint scanner without any difficulty, it did notice a slight delay. Qualcomm hasn’t specified the speed of the new scanner, and it is possible that the process of passing through a display panel adds extra time. But of course, it’s only a prototype, and given the fact that it won’t be commercially available until next summer at the earliest, we could see a lot of improvement by the time it’s inside a for-production device.

Why it matters

The possibilities that it offers, however, are worth noting. As shown in the iPhone-7-commercial-esque video above, Qualcomm’s in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is not only secure, but it could revolutionize the way smartphones look and function: bezel-less designs will continue to prevail, water- and dust-proofing will become easier, and – this is what excites me the most, honestly – wet fingers will work just as well!

As more manufacturers transition to OLED displays and bezel-less designs for their mobile devices, Qualcomm’s latest fingerprint scanner is bound to become one of the most effective solutions. Unfortunately, since it’s not expected to be commercially available until mid-2018, we probably won’t be seeing it inside devices like the Galaxy S9, LG G7, and HTC U12 (although they may feature a similar technology from other companies).

What are your thoughts on Vivo’s concept device with an in-display fingerprint scanner? Let us know by leaving a comment below!