Synaptics: In-display fingerprint sensor to launch in 2018 'tier one' flagship

Synaptics is planning a demonstration for January 2018 on a full-production, soon to be announced "tier one" customer phone. Its Clear ID fingerprint sensors have gone into mass production.

Synaptics on Tuesday announced the mass production of its Clear ID family of optical in-display fingerprint sensors with a "top five" smartphone manufacturer. It requires only one touch of the screen to securely access your smartphone, and will rid of the need for fingerprint sensors built into the back or bottom of handsets.

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At CES in January 2018, Synaptics said it will offer a live demonstration of in-display fingerprint recognition on a full-production, soon to be announced "tier one" customer phone.

It's not clear who the smartphone manufacturer set to incorporate Clear ID is, or when the smartphone that incorporates it will ship to the masses. The top five OEMs are Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, according to IDC. Of course, we can rule Apple out of speculation.

The Clear ID fingerprint sensors are designed for smartphones with bezel-less infinity displays that incorporate a button-less experience, Synaptics said. The in-display sensors work with wet, dry, and cold fingers, and can unlock devices including while it's sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount.

The rise of infinity displays makes it tough for OEMs to place the fingerprint sensor anywhere but under the screen.

For security, Synaptics said it included PurePrint anti-spoof technology to examine fingerprint images using AI to distinguish between spoofs and actual fingers. Its SecureLink tech combines support for TLS protocol with ECC authentication and AES encryption.

"Consumers prefer fingerprint authentication on the front of the phone, and with the industry quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays, the natural placement of the fingerprint sensor is in the display itself," Kevin Barber, SVP and GM of Synaptics' mobile division, said. "Synaptics' Clear ID fingerprint sensors are faster, more convenient, and more secure than alternative biometrics, and this optical technology represents a major innovation shift and opportunity for the smartphone market."

Synaptics claims Clear ID is two-times faster than alternative biometrics like 3D facial recognition found on Apple's iPhone X. Of course, we'll have to wait for this mystery smartphone launch to find out more.