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Laptop fingerprint sensors will soon blend into touchpads, activate by touch

Thanks mostly to Apple, and the huge popularity of its iPhone line, fingerprint authentication has become a must-have feature for high-end smartphones of late. PC consumers have started to show interest, as well.

Computers had fingerprint scanners first, of course, but Apple executed fingerprint recognition far better than HP or Lenovo, neatly hiding the scanner under the home button. Business laptops with fingerprint readers often have them set off to the side, and the readers aren’t as easy to use as Touch ID on the iPhone.

Now Synaptics, a leading industry supplier of touchpad, is trying to bring a Touch ID-like experience to larger screens with something called SecurePad. It’s basically a new, improved fingerprint ID technology that can be integrated right into a notebook’s touchpad. The actual sensor measures about 0.15 x 0.3 inches (size can vary a bit depending on implementation) and can occupy a tiny area in the top left corner of Synaptics-made TouchPads, ClickPads and ForcePads.

Easy to master and intuitive, it’s accessible by touch, not swipe, and thus theoretically more secure and reliable than the vast majority of existing finger scanners on enterprise laptops. Users can even apply a finger from any angle, allowing quicker and more intuitive activation.  SecurePad targets mainstream users, not the business niche, and is up for OEM integration already. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a few notebooks with SecurePad at next month’s CES in Las Vegas.

SecurePad is FIDO-ready, as well, meaning it’ll let you to make PayPal, Visa or MasterCard payments before long with a simple, airtight, virtually unhackable touch.

And yes, it’s probably going to be pricey to adopt at first, but in time it’ll hopefully become more affordable and at least as functional as Apple’s Touch ID.