Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Qualcomm unveils world's biggest fingerprint sensor for smartphones

Qualcomm unveils world's biggest fingerprint sensor for smartphones

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. Fast forward one year and the U.S. company announced an upgrade to its last year ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, the 3D Sonic Max, which promises to accurately scan a fingerprint in three dimensions.

Qualcomm's latest mobile computing platforms were teased at the company's Tech Summit in Hawaii, where it also announced the new and improved second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for smartphones. Unlike the first iteration that only allows users to scan one fingerprint, the 3D Sonic Max lets you scan two fingerprints at the same time. It also enables a 1 in a million accuracy rate vs an accuracy rate of 1 in 50,000 on the current sensor.

Unlike the last 3D Sonic model, the updated 3D Sonic Max sensor identifies what it's sensing with ultrasonic waves on its own hardware and not via algorithms and processing somewhere else on the device.

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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.

That's according to new reports from the Economic Daily News, cited by MacRumors, which note that Apple plans to meet with a Taiwanese touchscreen maker next week to talk about a fingerprint sensor that could work underneath the iPhone's all-screen display. The first generation of the ultrasonic sensor, while novel because it was technologically different from optical sensors, was in practice much slower and less consistent than the competition.

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