Just a few days after rumors emerged that Samsung might be moving away from Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, Qualcomm has announced a second-generation of the tech. The new sensor is called the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Max, and it offers a number of upgrades over the previous-generation sensor. The company announced the tech at its annual Snapdragon Summit, which I was flown out to.
Details about the new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor are still a little scarce, but what we do know is that it will offer a recognition area that’s 17 times larger than the previous-ten sensor. The result? According to Qualcomm, the new sensor allows for increased security. In fact, the extra area essentially means that you can use two-finger authentication, instead of having to stick with one.
According to Qualcomm, the new generation sensor also offers increased speed and ease of use, though specific details about how much faster the new sensor actually is have yet to be revealed.
In general, phones have been moving away from fingerprint sensors around the body of the phone. Some have added a fingerprint sensor under the display, which is exactly where the new 3D Sonic Max sensor comes in. Others, however, have moved away from fingerprint sensors altogether. Apple, for example, adopted facial recognition tech in the iPhone X a few years ago, and Google has been doing the same with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. That said, it’s unlikely that the fingerprint sensor is dead — and some rumors even suggest that Apple may bring the fingerprint sensor back to the iPhone in the form of an in-display sensor.
The new 3D Sonic Max in-display fingerprint sensor was announced alongside the new Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765 processors. While we don’t yet have too many details about the new chips, the Snapdragon 865 is aimed at powering the next-generation of flagship phones in 2020, while the Snapdragon 765 will likely offer a number of premium features found in the Snapdragon 865, but in a slightly lower-power, and cheaper, platform.
According to Qualcomm, the new platforms place an emphasis on artificial intelligence and 5G connectivity, which makes sense. It’s expected that many more manufacturers will adopt 5G in 2020, not to mention the fact that carriers will continue to roll out their
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