Japan Display Inc. on Tuesday announced a glass-based capacitive fingerprint reader that it describes as a physically transparent creation targeted at replacing silicon sensors used in contemporary (Android) smartphones, laptops, and other types of consumer electronics. The joint venture of Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi will start shipping the device to third-party original equipment manufacturers by the end of its current fiscal year ending March 2019. While Sony is a likely candidate for adopting the scanner, JDI gave no indication of which companies may end up ordering its latest offering.
The decision to commercialize a glass-based fingerprint reader was presented as the latest step in JDI's efforts to stay in touch with the current industry trends, primarily the fact that biometric authentication systems are now being adopted by everything from smartphones and tablets to Internet of Things devices on a massive scale. The sensor itself is also said to be suitable for relatively standalone, single-purpose solutions such as door locks. JDI's Pixel Eyes technology is an integral part of the package, providing the scanner with the same level of touch responsiveness boasted by its contemporary display panels used by digital cameras and handsets. The device is hence suitable for being integrated into LCD modules and provides a different take on the concept of an in-display fingerprint reader than what Vivo is currently pushing for; whereas the Chinese OEM demoed a smartphone with such a scanner integrated beneath its display at the latest iteration of the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, JDI came up with a solution that allows the sensor to be flush with the display that's surrounding it.
The Japanese tech giant is expecting its solution to be adopted by a broad range of industries including consumer electronics and connected vehicles. The firm is also quick to claim that the device is extremely flexible in terms of allowing for various product designs, being meant to adjust to its host instead of requiring major concessions from it. Smartphones with in-display fingerprint readers are expected to start hitting the market in mid-2018, with this particular feature being likely to become one of the most prominently advertised hallmarks of the next several generations of Android flagships.