Earlier this week, biometrics company Synaptics announced the development of Clear FS9500, the “world’s first in-display fingerprint sensor for smartphones.” The firm said a top 5 phone manufacturer would use its technology in a “Tier 1” handset next year. As the press release made several mentions of a “bezel-free infinity display,” some thought it would first appear in a Samsung device, but it will actually be in a Vivo phone.
As noted in the original article, recent leaks showing the fingerprint sensor on the rear of the handset suggested Synaptics’ tech wouldn’t debut in the Galaxy S9. More likely, it would first arrive in the Note 9 or another manufacturer’s device. 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.
The sensor is a small CMOS device placed below an AMOLED screen. It uses high-res optical scanning through the display itself. The OLED screen illuminates the fingerprint, and the sensor scans it and sends it back to the processor.
Synaptics said Clear ID is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition systems such as Apple’s Face ID. It seems the company was telling the truth; the process takes 0.7 seconds, faster than face recognition’s advertised 1.4 seconds. Moorehead calls it “fast and simple;”
While Vivo might not be the first name people think of when it comes to top 5 phone manufacturers, IDC reports that it was behind only Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and OPPO in Q1 2017. Vivo fell one position in Q2 but, thanks to its success in India, is expected to quickly regain a top five position.
What’s slightly surprising is that Vivo has been here before. Back in June, the Chinese company showed off an “under display” fingerprint sensor made by Qualcomm. It used ultrasonic waves to read prints, but was reportedly slow and never made it beyond the prototype demo unit.