At the Mobile World Congress held in March this year, Qualcomm announced a new biometric security platform, which the company claimed they had been working on for some time. The technology is a fingerprint and retina scanning system called Sense ID. The one significant advantage that this technology has over the solutions currently employed by manufacturers, is that Qualcomm’s solution relies on ultrasound scanning to verify a person’s ID, which is a significant technological leap from the cheaper 2D-based fingerprint authentication methods, which need a capacitive sensor to work, and are being employed by Apple (Touch ID), HTC and other OEMs currently. 3D-based technology like Qualcomm’s Sense ID makes it harder for anyone to fake as it works by sending ultrasound waves much like a radar, to retrieve a 3D image of the solid surface it bounced from (the skin on your finger).
Reports are now indicating that Japan at least won’t have to wait too long for the technology to come to its shores, as the country’s largest carrier NTT DoCoMo is going to be first off-the-blocks worldwide to implement Qualcomm’s new technology in the land of the rising sun, reportedly as early as May 28th with devices from Fujitsu and Sharp. However, the carrier has indicated that it would expand its authentication service by adding more devices by the end of this year. This platform will offer improved security and make it easier to authenticate people for online payment systems, by eliminating the innate limitations of pin codes and passwords. The biometrics platform currently supports the US-based chip maker’s Snapdragon 810 processor, but the feature is available as a stand-alone option, which makes it available to be added to any new design using Snapdragon 400, 600 and 800 series chips, should OEMs choose to introduce Sense ID to mid-range devices, costs permitting.
Speaking on the occasion of the official announcement of the impending launch, Senior VP and MD of product department for NTT DoCoMo, Mr. Seiji Maruyama, said, “DOCOMO is excited to be the first operator to offer its consumers a new and differentiated way to authenticate to their mobile devices. By collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies on the deployment of the Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform, our customers can now unlock their phones without having to key in a pincode, and can make mobile payments with a quick glance”.