Qualcomm has presented a new generation of ultrasonic fingerprint sensors at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai, which can be installed under a display, as well as metal or glass. In the summer of the coming year according to Qualcomm with first devices with fingerprint sensor in the display to be expected.
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors are not new per se in the Qualcomm range. With the Snapdragon 820 (test), the company had installed such fingerprint sensors in metal and glass reference devices. The second generation, however, can now be installed under displays as well as metal and glass, provided that certain material thicknesses are not exceeded.
Compatible only to thin OLED displays
The Qualcomm OEMs integrated in the display will be offering OEMs as an engineering sample starting in October 2017 and will be ready to go into production by the coming year, so that the first devices will be launched on the market in summer 2018. Qualcomm emphasizes that the sensor can only be used under thin OLED displays with a maximum of 1,200 micrometers (1.2 millimeters). The sensor can not be combined with thicker LC displays that require background lighting.
Metal and glass may now be thicker
The variant of the sensor for metal and glass surfaces will soon be ready for use. Samples for OEMs are expected to be delivered in July. Qualcomm is already planning to launch its first equipped devices on the market in early 2018. The metal above the sensor may be a maximum of 650 micrometers thick, for glass it is 800 micrometers. In the first generation of ultrasonic fingerprint sensors, it was still 400 micrometers for both materials.
The new ultrasonic fingerprint sensors are designed as integrated solutions for Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon platforms as well as for other platforms. The metal and glass sensor is compatible with the recently announced Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile platforms, and the model for displays will only be compatible with future Snapdragon and standalone products.
Unlock the smartphone under water
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The additional properties of the sensors are also interesting. For example, Qualcomm supports devices with IP68 certification and promotes the unlocking of devices under water. In addition, measurements of heart rate and blood flow are possible without changes via the same sensors. Wipers for special functions of the smartphone are also supported.