We’re barely halfway through 2018, but we’re already seeing details about Samsung’s flagship 2019 smartphones starting to trickle out. According to The Investor, Samsung will source in-display fingerprint sensors from Synaptics and Qualcomm for its Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones. The report claims that Samsung is working on two “high-end” and one “lower-end” variants of its 2019 flagship smartphone. The cheaper Samsung Galaxy S10 variant will use a 2D optical in-display fingerprint sensor from Synaptics – the same sensor that’s been used in a few phones this year already and was originally shown off at CES 2018. Synaptics’ in-display sensors are no different than the fingerprint sensors used on current smartphones, capturing an image of the user’s fingerprint when pressed against the sensor.
The two “high-end” Samsung Galaxy S10 variants will use Qualcomm’s ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor. While Qualcomm introduced the technology to the world in 2015, the technology has yet to be implemented in any commercial products. Qualcomm’s product development roadmap from 2017 showed that it expected its ultrasonic fingerprint sensors to be available on the market by this summer, but obviously, that did not happen.
The difference between the optical fingerprint sensors from Synaptics and the ultrasonic fingerprint sensors from Qualcomm in how they capture the fingerprint. The in-display sensors from Synaptics use the light from the display to illuminate the fingerprint and the sensor is then able to capture a 2D image of the fingerprint through the microscopic gaps between the display’s pixels. Qualcomm’s sensors emit an ultrasonic tone which is used to create a 3D map of the user’s fingerprint, making it more accurate since it can see through dirt and moisture. Another advantage the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor has is that is can also be placed under metal.
In-display fingerprint sensors are still an oddity in 2018, but projections show that more than 100-million devices will ship with the new tech in 2019.