In-display fingerprint sensors are about to become ubiquitous, but will they also get better?

In-display fingerprint sensors are about to become ubiquitous, but will they also get better?
The in-display fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S10+ is... far from perfect

While Apple's decision to do away with the beloved Touch ID fingerprint sensor and rely entirely on facial recognition technology for 2017's iPhone X caused quite a bit of initial controversy, "iFans" quickly warmed up to the change, wholeheartedly embracing last year's iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, as well as the new iPad Pro 11 and 12.9, none of which came with a fingerprint scanning solution.

At the same time, Android device vendors chose to primarily work on integrating and refining in-display fingerprint readers, which are starting to become ubiquitous in the high-end segment, also expanding their reach to mid-range models. Even though this particular biometric recognition technology remains far from perfect, industry sources quoted by Digitimes only expect the popularity of OLED panels "paired with in-display fingerprint sensors" to increase throughout 2019.

That's largely because the prices of high-quality rigid OLED screens and fingerprint scanners capable of hiding in plain sight have been recently dropping, a trend that will no doubt continue this year, helping smartphone manufacturers spend less money on increasingly sophisticated components and technologies. At least in theory, that means we should see more and more mid-rangers equipped with fancy in-screen fingerprint readers, as well as cheaper high-end products sporting OLED displays with little to no bezel.

That's obviously good news for Samsung, which may need to settle for smaller profit margins on sales of AMOLED screens, with said sales numbers however tipped to further increase, consolidating the company's market dominance. Meanwhile, LCD panels will become less and less popular, even in the mid-end segment, providing very few benefits over their OLED counterparts and an almost insignificant price reduction for device makers.

Hopefully, this all means the reliability, accuracy, and security of in-display fingerprint sensors will be vastly improved in the near future as well, given the issues exhibited by phones like the Nokia 9 PureView and even Samsung's state-of-the-art Galaxy S10 family. It also remains to be seen if the rising popularity of this biometric recognition method will come at the expense of 3D facial scanning solutions, which are still very rare in the Android landscape and far from infallible.

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21 Comments

1. blingblingthing

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

So the Android 3d face scanners are far from perfect/ far from infallible, noted. How do you rate the iPhone's faceID? I remember seeing a video of a twin unlocking their sibling's iPhone.

2. TechNeck

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

In DFW a few weeks ago two teens who were not twins nor were they related were able to unlock one of the two's iPhone X. https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2019/04/10/2-texas-high-school-classmates-unlock-same-iphone-faces/

5. sissy246

Posts: 7006; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LOL So much for the best face ID

6. iloveapps

Posts: 589; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

And so much for android having unsecured facial recognition that they are the first and yet the worst implementation.

8. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1241; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Facial recognition is good as an alternative unlock method. But as an actual security feature, whether it's Face ID or similar, they're trash.

9. sgodsell

Posts: 6908; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The thing is those initial articles where this guy darkshark takes a 2D picture of his finger print and then massages it to create a 3D image, and then prints it out on a 3D printer is fake. Qualcomms ultrasonic sensor will even work with surgical gloves on, or with those thin gloves that you see food people wearing. Qualcomm even states that. So why even have a 3D ultrasonic scanner if its not going to scan 3D? Oh, and how can the S10 scan through a finger while wearing thin gloves? Darkshark is fake, and he said the 3D printer he used, printed his 3D finger print out in 13 minutes, but the printer he used does 20mm/hour.

11. ph00ny

Posts: 2002; Member since: May 26, 2011

and yet "Hello Windows" with much much worse odds can distinguish between twins (i think i saw the odds at 100k:1 but could be wrong but nowhere near faceid's 1mil:1 odds)

12. Leo_MC

Posts: 6715; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Don't worry: the odds to unlock the Face ID are 1:1,000,000 (20 times smaller than with Touch ID and probably all the other fingerprint scanners).

3. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1526; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Finger print scanner on my S10 was never problematic to me, yes it sometimes had some issues with super dry fingers (my hands are sweaty most of the time so UV in display FPS is reliable than physical FPS for me) but it has improved much after recent patch. It now even works with dry fingers.

7. drunkenjay

Posts: 1647; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

same i havnt had problems with the on screen fingerprint sensors for a while too.

4. lyndon420

Posts: 6519; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

But I don't want to give up my fingerprints. I prefer passwords/passcodes because they are still the best form of privacy.

10. Venom

Posts: 3143; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Oneplus 6T is still a beast along with being the best with the best in screen FPS. The Pureview apparently needs a little more time in the oven, but it will get there.

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 21485; Member since: May 28, 2014

Clearly you don't own a OnePlus 6T, or you wouldn't say it has the best in-screen FPS. https://forums.oneplus.com/threads/oneplus-6t-fingerprint.990223/ I guess it needs a little more time in the oven it gets there as well. ;)

15. TheOracle1

Posts: 2076; Member since: May 04, 2015

I'm certain the fps on the 6T is the same as my NexS. In the 6 months I've been using mine it's improved significantly to the point where it's basically as good as a regular fps. You just have to be accurate where you place your finger. A bigger area would be welcome.

19. meanestgenius

Posts: 21485; Member since: May 28, 2014

Two different companies. Unless you can back that up with your personal user experience, it’s all speculation, unlike the actual users in the link I provided.

13. Leo_MC

Posts: 6715; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The devices of the future will probably have AI authentication with both face and touch ID in or near the display ;).

21. jarome

Posts: 23; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

The sensor on my S10+ will not work with my 76-year-old thumbs. It takes about 40 presses to enrol them, and then it almost never unlocks them. It works with my forefinger, but the new placement is designed for thumbs. Apps like LastPass unlock with a fingerprint, and it tries out before I get recognizd. I had no problem with the swipe sensor on my S9+. The screen sensor is a lousy idea. It smudges the screen also.

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