In the run-up to the launch of both the Galaxy Note8 and the iPhone X, many speculated that one of these flagship devices would sport a fingerprint sensor under the display. Vivo revealed a prototype that showed that this was completely within the realm of possibility, albeit slow, thanks to an 'ultrasonic' sensor from Qualcomm. However, neither of these devices ended up with the feature, with the iPhone X scrapping the idea of a biometric fingerprint reader completely.
It would seem that Samsung has found a way to make some form of the concept a reality, thanks to a granted patent filing with the Korean Patent Office (KIPRIS), giving us a glimpse into how the company thinks this could be achieved. According to the patent, the new fingerprint sensor - which is being described as 'superfast' - will be housed within a recess on the display by way of a notch.
However, the future of the fingerprint sensor could be in the balance, as rumors have been swirling about the possibility of Apple completely abandoning it for facial authentication systems, with some analysts predicting that the company will dump the iconic home button from iPhones released next year, much like how it did with the iPhone X. In addition to this, Samsung might follow suit with the next Galaxy S handset, improving its iris scanner to match that of Apple.
Beyond this, having the fingerprint on the front of the display as shown in this patent may further fuel debate surrounding notches, which companies like Essential with its Ph-1 and Apple have embraced. With that said, the virtual fingerprint sensor on smartphones will remain a pipe dream until companies find innovative ways to embed them within our displays - sans the notch of course.