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KGI: No clear release for Qualcomm’s in-screen fingerprint technology

Last week, Qualcomm demoed its working in-screen fingerprint sensing technology, lending confidence to iPhone 8 hopes. A new report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, however, says Qualcomm’s solution isn’t close to shipping…

Qualcomm demoed its solution in a prototype Vivo phone, but there’s no clear timetable for a release at this time. Kuo explains that Qualcomm’s implementation of in-screen fingerprint sensing is an “improvement, but not perfect.” The analyst explains that Qualcomm offers better scan-through, but speed and response times are an area of concern.

The ultrasonic fingerprint recognition installed on Vivo’s prototype model should be the latest 2.1 version which, compared with the previous version, offers better scan-through and can distinguish between real fingers and artificial clones.

However, we think there are still a few technological challenges to be addressed, including: (1) scan-through ability still has room for improvement; (2) slower to enable; and (3) slower response.

Kuo goes on to explain that there are a handful of mass production uncertainties for in-screen fingerprint technology. He says that one issue Qualcomm will face is penetrating the smartphone industry as its technology needs to work through a thinner cover glass and flexible OLED panels, two things that not all smartphones feature.

Kuo also says that, in his research, consumers don’t mind a rear-placed fingerprint sensor as much as some like to think:

Consumers don’t seem to have much of a problem with fingerprint scanners on the back of handsets; thus handset brands may be less compelled to adopt the ultrasonic solution as long as risks persist.

Ultimately, Kuo concludes that there’s “no clear mass production timeline for Vivo’s showcase of Qualcomm’s under-display fingerprint recognition.”

In the past, KGI has been unclear on where Touch ID will be located on the upcoming iPhone 8. Kuo has said that Apple is looking to leapfrog its existing Touch ID sensor with new biometric technologies, whereas other sources have pointed towards both rear-placed and in-screen solutions, with the most recent leaks pointing towards the latter.

Nevertheless,, it’s unlikely that Apple relies at all on Qualcomm’s fingerprint technology for the upcoming iPhone 8, and instead is working on its own in-house solution.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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