Qualcomm's new in-display fingerprint sensor is 50% faster, could debut soon

The new 3D Sonic Sensor should make unlocking your Android phone a quicker, easier process.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2.jpg
Image: Qualcomm

One of the loudest complaints about Android phone's that've used Qualcomm's in-display, also called under display by some, fingerprint readers is that they're often slow and the touch area where a fingerprint scan can occur is too small. 

While I haven't shared in those same frustrations, I'm all for an improved experience.

Qualcomm on Monday announced its second generation 3D Sonic Sensor which powers the in-display fingerprint readers we've seen in phones like Samsung's Galaxy lineup. 

According to the press release, Qualcomm states the new reader can accurately read your prints, even if your fingers are wet. It achieves improved accuracy by using ultrasonic waves to create a 3D scan of your prints, and will reportedly work through glass or metal. 

The revamped sensor is also thinner, measuring just 0.2mm, giving OEMs more options with their overall smartphone design. 

Phones with the new sensor will be 50% faster, and offer a scan target that's 77% bigger than the first generation offering. The sensor will capture 1.7x more data, as well, leading to quicker and more accurate readings. 

The timing of Monday's Qualcomm announcement comes just a few days before Samsung will unveil its Galaxy S21 lineup, and after this announcement, I'd have to say it's highly likely we'll see Samsung be the first to use the new 3D Sonic Sensor. 

To be clear, Qualcomm isn't saying exactly when we'll see phones with the new hardware, outside of "early 2021."

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