Could the future of smartphone biometrics look a lot like a shinier version of the past? The answer is most definitely yes — that is, if Synaptics Incorporated has anything to say about it.
The San Jose-based hardware manufacturer announced plans on Monday to mass produce an optical in-display fingerprint sensor, and, according to the company, it has a very big partner involved.
The “Clear ID” scanner, which would reside under a phone’s screen, would theoretically allow for easy-to-use biometrics on bezel-less phones. While Synaptics is not the first company to develop such technology, that it claims to have a deal with an unnamed “top five [original equipment manufacturer]” suggests it’s ready for the big leagues.
If you read this as a shot across the bow of Apple’s Face ID, well, you’d be right.
“Synaptics’ Clear ID performance is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition,” the company explained in a press release, “and requires only one touch to access your smartphone.”
It does look fast — at least in a short video demonstration provided by Synaptics.
And that’s not all Synaptics has to say about it. The company notes that “[in-display] fingerprint technology allows users to securely unlock the device in situations including while it’s sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount.”
But isn’t Touch ID and the like, you know, dead? We all know that Apple ditched fingerprint-scanning tech for the iPhone X, and present thinking has it that Face ID is here to stay. And yet face-scanning has seen a lot of pushback, and security researchers claim to be able to hack Face ID in particular with relative ease.
Sure, fingerprint scanning isn’t foolproof either, but people really miss their old Touch ID friend.
Face ID is a huge step backwards. i’ve has to manually enter my password more in three weeks with Face ID than i did in all my years with Touch ID.
— magic 💫 (@daisy55) December 10, 2017
“Consumers prefer fingerprint authentication on the front of the phone, and with the industry quickly shifting to bezel-free OLED infinity displays, the natural placement of the fingerprint sensor is in the display itself,” Kevin Barber, Synaptics’s mobile division senior vice president and general manager, noted in a statement.
Only time will tell if the smartphone of the future eschews today’s fancy biometric face-scanning tech in favor of the old-school fingerprint sensor, but Synaptics is clearly betting on it.