So, what are these 'under-glass' finger scanners that may be on the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8?


The "under-glass" finger scanning solutions already announced aren't really "in-screen authentication," but they may still lead to the rumored nearly edge-to-edge displays of the Galaxy S8 and OLED iPhone 8.

Home key begone!

By now every geek worth their mettle, and everybody remotely interested in the grand rivalry between Apple and Samsung may have heard that their 2017 flagships - the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8 - may ditch the home key. This would bring them one step firther to their rumored "edge-to-edge" design, as they may get thinner, uninterrupted bezels. 

Especially in the case of the iPhone and its signature circular home button, removing the key may increase the screen-to-body ratio significantly. The talk of the tape is that only the rumored OLED iPhone 8 model, allegedly codenamed "Ferrari," is going to dispense of the home button, which is only logical considering the millions of iPhone fans that can't imagine their favorite handset without it.

Dude, where's my finger scanner?

So far so good, Apple is rumored to be working a new form of touch controls that may be employed in the curved OLED iPhone 8, and may be the equivalent of on-screen buttons in Android, which in their turn are likely to be used on the Galaxy S8 if it also ships without the legacy physical home key of Samsung. What about the fingerprint reader, though, where's that puppy planning to hide, given that it is now embedded in the home keys?

Well, if various leaks and rumors may be any indication, it might go deeper under the cover glass that will inevitably be at the front of the S8 and iPhone 8. In fact, Synaptics, the maker of all things 3D touch-y and biometric-y, has already introduced such optical finger scanners. The 6x6mm Natural ID FS4500 fingerprint sensor was outed in August, and can be used under a 0.3mm glass or ceramics layer, while the latest FS9100 optical scanner was announced last week, and it raised the stakes threefold, being able to hide under 1mm of cover glass, and still perform its finger reading functions. 

Under-glass in-screen is not, said Yoda

So, these "under-glass" sensors aren't actually embedded in the display itself? Sorry to disappoint, but yes, they "are designed for placement under the cover glass, including 2.5D glass, located in the front, bottom bezel of devices." Synaptics, however, is looking forward to the so-called Phase 2 of in-display fingerprint authentication, which "will involve moving the sensor to a fixed location within the display area,"and using the display photo diodes as lighting source for the optical finger scanner. 

Moral of the fingerprint reader

Thus, we may still have some minimal width non-screen area at the bottoms of the S8 and iPhone 8, unless they have come up with a screen and cover glass package that is less than 1mm thick, or have mastered Phase 2 of in-screen authentication. We actually don't mind a bit of bezel as a natural palm rejection barrier to keep us from inadvertent touches, otherwise perusing a truly "edge-to-edge" phone might turn into an ergonomics nightmare. 

That's not to say that there aren't Apple patents where the finger scanner is in the display package itself, it's just that the "under-glass" products already announced and sampling to customers, don't seem to be such solutions. If anybody can pull this off, though, it's Apple and Samsung, so we are really looking forward to their potentially disruptive iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8 next year.

source: Synaptics

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)



1. BobLawblaw unregistered

Unrelated question to the article but whatever happened to Phonearenas great pictures taken with smartphones.

7. Subie

Posts: 2415; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Possible that they didn't generate enough clicks for it to be worth the time...

9. westicktogether

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 15, 2016

But they have time for that creepy guy to make "Best Selfie" articles lol

2. kumarabhishek591

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

That means the rumor about back fingerprint in s8 might be true. They might just hide the scanner inside back glass.

11. cheetah2k

Posts: 2288; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Who cares. I wont be buying Samsung or Apple any time soon. Google Pixel FTW!!

12. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

he didnt ask you

3. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Has PhoneArena forgotten about Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sense ID? It's apparently more accurate than a regular capacitive fingerprint scanner and can go under a display. It should be available since the story on it was from March 2015.

13. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

that one limited to under glass, while this one can be placed on screen area (phase2 &phase3)

14. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

According to Qualcomm's page for SD Sense ID, it says "With the ability to scan through glass, plastic and certain metals" So if it will go through some metals, it will most likely go through a sissy as well.

4. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

I hope samsung concentrate more on improving camera and battery of s8 as compared to s7. S7 already has a great camera and decent battery. But pixel proved that camera could have been better. OEM's like xiaomi has proved that 4000mah can be inserted in a 5inch diaplay without increasing weight and thickness too much. So i expect atleast 3400mah on s8 without increasing the thickness and weight. Fingerprint scanners improvement is secondary. As far as apple is concerned i hope they come out of sleep of last 5 years in 2017.

5. Khyron

Posts: 399; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

O hope they otro rifle oficina Rhode ugly homepage button ir just SO legacy hace a home button to maje things like return to home screen or back back with home button why not put two fingerprint Readers one in the back with gesture another one in the SIDE with shortcuts anda Nice edge to edge display with stereo speaker or quad speakers

6. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"If anybody can pull this off, though, it's Apple and Samsung" - Daniel P. Well, if there's indeed an OEM that can really pull this off (innovating on it and not just buying the tech when it's all done) Apple isn't that OEM.

8. Tizo101

Posts: 595; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

"...removing the key may increase the screen-to-body ratio significantly" if they knew how to do that they would have done it long ago, look at Samsung's ratio.

10. KingSam

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

PA still no mention of the zuk edge. I read that it was quietly released. I think Android authority has an article about if I'm not mistaken. Under glass fingerprint scanner and all the good stuff.

15. dmitrilp_

Posts: 330; Member since: Sep 12, 2016

I don't want the home button to be remove, all of this new phones without it, look pretty stupid with that little circle in it's place.

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