Here at CES 2018, I had a chance to look at what some of us probably considered mere fantasy a few short years ago: a fingerprint scanner that can see through a smartphone display. It sounds like something that must be so complex it would be beyond explanation, but really, the basic principles aren't terribly difficult to grasp.
The short of it is this: smartphone screens are light-permeable, because they are porous. The thinner the display, the more light-permeable it probably is, and OLED screens are the thinnest currently being manufactured. By shining a bright enough light through the porous display, a sensor can observe the reflection of your fingerprint against the display components and use that to create a computer-readable image. Read More
Swiping down on the fingerprint scanner to show notifications came as a gesture with the Pixels last year and resulted in a lot of drama before it was enabled for Nexus 5X and 6P phones in Android 7.1.2. With Android Oreo 8.0, the fingerprint scanner gesture API was opened up to developers so they could make their own apps with it.
And today's app is built on that. DigiLux uses the fingerprint swipe gesture to lower or raise your display's brightness. Before you start using it, you will need to allow it to modify system settings and turn on its accessibility service. Read More
We've been waiting years for this moment, and it looks like Qualcomm will be the first one to deliver on our dreams: fingerprint scanners that go directly underneath your phone's display panel. At MWC Shanghai today, Qualcomm announced that it will be supplying these futuristic scanners - a new business for the company - starting in Summer 2018.
Qualcomm's design utilizes the company's previously-announced ultrasonic fingerprint detection method. Because of its use of ultrasonics - as opposed to capacitance - Qualcomm says this fingerprint scanner design makes it much easier to "see" through your smartphone's display panel to take a fingerprint read... Read More
Google introduced a simple fingerprint scanner gesture on the Pixel and Pixel XL that allows you to "swipe" the scanner to access the notification shade. This was not brought to the Nexus 5X and 6P, though, despite being an Android 7.1 feature, and the devices use the same fingerprint scanner hardware as the new Pixels. After some confusion, technical reasons were offered up for the lack of support for the feature - namely: the firmware version of the scanner on the old phones wasn't capable of implementing it, but that a firmware update was seemingly possible - it seemed that Google could potentially add the feature to the 5X and 6P, but for one reason or another chose not to. Read More
Frequent United flyers may find themselves using the airline's Android app more often than they realize. The latest update cuts down on how often you have to type out your password as you sign in to your MileagePlus account. Now you can tap a fingerprint scanner instead. Read More
LG's Innotek arm unveiled a new fingerprint scanner implementation today that allows a scanner to be placed directly under a piece of glass, such as the bezel area of display cover glass on a smartphone. The new technology, then, is at least somewhat similar to Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sense ID in that it does not require an exterior element physically demarcating where the scanner sits, and can instead be basically invisible. Qualcomm's solution, though, uses ultrasonics to identify a fingerprint - LG's design appears to be of the traditional capacitive variety.
To be clear, the new technology does not allow the scanner to sit on or under the display itself - this is a problem not yet solved - merely for it to be hidden a bit better in the places where we see fingerprint scanners already. Read More
Most of the top Android phones (and even some mid-range ones) are shipping with fingerprint readers these days. App developers are starting to take notice and add support to apps, and today an important one for many people has been updated. Chase Mobile, which has tens of millions of downloads, now supports fingerprint logins. Bank of America just did the same a few days ago. Read More
Years after Chinese electronics giant Lenovo purchased Motorola, the lines between the two companies are starting to blur. The status of Motorola as its "Moto" lineup becomes a sub-brand of Lenovo is still somewhat up in the air. According to a post from Digital Trends, the Moto line will be positioned as a more high-end option, as opposed to serving a wide array of market segments as it does now. Read More
Fingerprint reader support is one of the big pushes of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it's not just limited to the lock screen. Google has an option in the Play Store to authorize app purchases with a fingerprint, which we first spotted in a teardown of the v5.9 client. Now it's live for 6.0 devices that have fingerprint readers like the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Read More
Nexus Imprint on the new Nexus phones is fantastic compared to other fingerprint sensors. It's fast and incredibly accurate. The setup process is painless too. How will other devices with fingerprint sensors on Android 6.0 fare? They should at least get the job done if they follow the new rules. Google has listed the requirements for OEMs to make sure their sensors work correctly in Marshmallow. Read More