It was only a few days ago that Synaptics debuted its latest fingerprint sensor, the Clear ID FS9500. This year, manufacturers have pushed the boundaries of design by going with a near bezel-less display, which takes up most of the real estate on the front end of the device. Because of this, the phone often has very little room for a fingerprint reader on the front and is either removed completely or relocated to another position like the rear or power button. What makes Synaptics' newest sensor different from previous offerings is its ability to be embedded under a display. This will allow manufacturers to maintain the design of their phones, while also keeping the fingerprint reader in a familiar area.
During its press briefing, the firm touted that it would show off a handset with the technology from a major manufacturer. While some speculated that the device would be the Samsung Galaxy S9, it turns out that it will instead be something new from Vivo. While Vivo might not sound familiar to most, the firm has been in the headlines this year once before, showing off a similar technology at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. During that event, Vivo was using a Qualcomm solution which was found to be slow.
According to Patrick Moorhead, a contributor at Forbes that got to test a pre-production model, the Synaptic solution is "fast and simple". In order to initialize it, Moorhead needed to press the right side button to wake the handset, bringing up a fingerprint illumination at the bottom of the screen. Once the finger is placed on top of the illuminated area, it unlocks the phone and grants access to the user.
While this is slightly different from how we unlock our phones currently, Moorhead expects Vivo to improve the experience by only requiring users to lift to wake the device, so at that point, they can just place their finger on the glass to unlock it, without the need to press any other buttons.
Although this is only a single experience about the new fingerprint reader, things look quite positive. Luckily, those attending CES 2018 will get a chance to experience it for themselves, and see whether Synaptics' solution is capable of replacing what is currently being used on smartphones.