The cat is out of the bag, and the fingerprint sensor is under the display in Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10.
In officially announcing the new device this week, just ahead of this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung was keen to emphasize the all-around technical prowess of the S10, but the in-display sensor technology was definitely a highlight, as previewed in Samsung’s teaser of the device earlier this year. It’s the debut of Qualcomm’s long-touted ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which is designed to capture a 3D image of a user’s fingerprint, allowing for greater protection against potential spoofing attempts; and in the sensor Samsung and Qualcomm can both boast of having the world’s first authentication component to have attained certification in the Biometric Component Certification Program launched by the FIDO Alliance last year.
There are other impressive features of the device too, of course. The Galaxy S10 sports an HDR10+-certified AMOLED display that stretches across its entire front face, with a hole cut out in the top right corner for a selfie camera. On the back, it features a three-camera setup allowing users to toggle between a 123-degree lens, a 77-degree lens, and a 45-degree telephoto lens. And other features include wireless charging, battery-conserving AI, and a smarter version of the Bixby virtual assistant.
Impressive though these features may be, none of them necessarily make the Galaxy S10 stand out from the competition the way that its in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor does. And it looks like Samsung is banking on this feature in a big way: Remarkably, its announcement of the S10 made no mention of iris recognition, the modality that Samsung has pioneered in its previous flagship smartphones. Nor was there much mention of facial recognition; the S10 does support it, but it’s probably nowhere near as sophisticated as Apple’s Face ID system, judging by how little Samsung discussed it in launching the S10.
So it’s in-display fingerprint scanning or bust, with Samsung offering the most high-profile example yet of this still-growing trend in the mobile biometrics market.
The Galaxy S10, the extra-large Galaxy S10+, and the budget-friendly Galaxy S10e will all hit the market on March 8th.
Sources: Samsung, Qualcomm, The Verge