Qualcomm announces world’s largest fingerprint sensor for smartphones

Yolanda Curtis
December 4, 2019

Qualcomm has taken the wraps off its next-generation fingerprint scanner as it looks to make smartphones more secure than ever.

The larger sensor also means setting up fingerprint authentication will be easier, as you won't have to repeatedly tap your finger from different points to register a fingerprint on your phone. The bigger size allows the scanner to read two fingerprints at once which can be used by banking apps or other scenarios where even tighter security is required.

Update: As noted by PCMag, Qualcomm today at its Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii unveiled a 30x20mm in-display fingerprint sensor for smartphones, said to be 17x larger than the one in the Galaxy S10.

An iPhone next year might be able to utilize an even more advanced variant of this kind of ultrasonic fingerprint sensor technology which Qualcomm is already supplying to Samsung phones like the Galaxy S10. However, it is not another SoC though but instead, the product is a brand-new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor called 3D Sonic Max. It also enables a 1 in a million accuracy rate vs an accuracy rate of 1 in 50,000 on the current sensor. Speaking of the technology, ultrasonic sensors are distinguished from optical versions in that the latter need light from a smartphone to produce an image of a fingerprint.

Another feature that Qualcomm is bringing with its new fingerprint sensor is that it can authenticate two fingerprints at the same time owing to its large surface area. Since the new sensor covers a noticeably bigger area, Apple could very well consider using it on its iPhones.

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