Following on from its retail debut earlier this year – notably in the aforementioned Galaxy S10 handsets – Qualcomm is updating its ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. The ‘3D Sonic’ sensor can be embedded under the screen, offering an experience that is potentially more secure than the optical readers used under the screens of handsets such as the OnePlus 6T.
The secure nature of the 3D Sonic sensor was brought into question in October with the news that certain screen protectors would confuse the sensor and would unlock the smartphone with an incorrect fingerprint. Samsung and Qualcomm worked together to address the issue, and the software patch is now available
“As soon as Qualcomm provided new software to prevent static patterns, such as ones on the silicone cases from being enrolled or matched, we have released a software patch to address the fingerprint scanner issue on Galaxy Note10, Note10+, S10, S10+ and S10 5G devices. We recommend that all users keep their devices updated with the latest software to ensure the highest level of protection possible.”
Although some have questioned the continued presence of the under-screen fingerprint reader, the launch of the ‘3D Sonic Max’ should take care of that question. The older hardware can be dropped in place of the newer and more robust system.
“”What we’ve done is collected and bought [with Samsung] multiples of these phone covers, and we’ve created anti-spoof algorithms that are already released into the market,” Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Qualcomm, said in an interview ahead of Qualcomm’s technology conference being held this week in Hawaii. “There’s nothing wrong with the fingerprint sensor design.”
“But Qualcomm’s trying again. The company on Tuesday at its third annual Snapdragon Technology Summit introduced its new fingerprint sensor, the 3D Sonic Max.”
The expectation is that Qualcomm’s new sensor will be fitted to the upcoming Galaxy S11 flagship handsets. Samsung traditionally launches the new S phones just before MWC Barcelona. Given the annual GSMA event is taking place between the 24th and the 27th of February, we’ll know the new specs by the middle of that month.