In this day and age when the shelf life of smartphones is decreasing by the day, Xiaomi's Mi 4 has well and truly been getting a bit long in the tooth, seeing as it was announced back in July last year. Numerous speculations over the past several months about the upcoming Mi 5 handset have indicated that the device will ship with Qualcomm's brand new Snapdragon 820 chipset, which will reportedly digress from the current trend of multi-core CPUs, and feature a quad-core processor in lieu of the octa-core chips found in Qualcomm's current premium and mid-range SoCs. While earlier rumors pegged Q1, 2016 as the release date for Xiaomi's next-generation flagship, more recent rumors have indicated that the device may launch as early as November this year.
Now, being one the very first devices to be powered by Qualcomm's upcoming premium chipset also means that the Mi 5 will feature Qualcomm's all-new fingerprint recognition technology – 'Sense ID'. Of course, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 SoC is expected to support Sense ID, which is Qualcomm-speak for a patented, proprietary 3D fingerprint recognition technology that can even scan through "glass, aluminum, stainless steel, sapphire and plastics", according to a post on Qualcomm's website. Meaning, manufacturers should be able to integrate the sensor into the phone's design, without wasting space on a separate section specifically for the fingerprint scanner. In theory therefore, the scanner could be built into the display or the bezel, depending on the OEM's design choice. The technology itself will reportedly use ultrasonic waves to scan 3D images of users' fingers, thereby proving to be more accurate than the solutions currently available in the market, all of which rely on 2D scanners to identify unique characteristics in the human fingerprints.
Qualcomm also claims that its new 3D ultrasonic technology has the power to "penetrate the outer layers of skin, detecting three-dimensional details and unique fingerprint characteristics, including fingerprint ridges and sweat pores", making it well-nigh impossible to defeat the all-new biometric security scanner by replicating someone else's fingerprint. It remains to be seen how all this works out in real-life usage, but the new tech certainly should be an USP for Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 chipset, which, the company is hoping, will be more appreciated than the Snapdragon 810, which has often taken flak for its poor thermal management.