It's been a long, long time coming, but it looks as thought someone has finally cracked the key to successfully putting fingerprint scanners under the glass without mucking up the display. We've seen Samsung toy with the idea for some time now, with rumors of it landing in the Galaxy Note 8 last year, but ultimately not seeing a real patent for it until November. Synaptics, maker of smartphone digitizers and fingerprint scanners, among other things, announced their own version of this technology back in December, and now we were able to get a hands on with it inside a phone made by huge Chinese OEM Vivo.
Vivo may not be a huge name in the West, but as one of the largest Chinese smartphone vendors, it's a big deal that they've partnered with Synaptics to bring this technology to an actual production-grade smartphone. The smartphone looks average enough, with styling very similar to many of Vivo's other phones, but it's under the display that's what counts. Synaptics designed the in-glass fingerprint scanner to work only on OLED screens, which is convenient since most higher-end smartphones are now packing an OLED screen in one form or another. The fingerprint reader is located near the bottom center, with a handy fingerprint icon right where you need to press.
The scanner is only active while the screen is on, which works both in the always-on screens as well as when the display is completely on and at the lockscreen. It's not the fastest fingerprint scanner in the world, and since it needs the screen on it could take an extra second or two before you're in the phone, but it's a huge step in a direction that many companies have been moving toward for years now, and marks a big breakthrough in consumer technology going forward. We're expecting a number of phones to debut with this type of fingerprint scanner this year, likely in conjunction with facial recognition technology, to prove that 2018 is a truly breakthrough year for convenience and security. Check out the video below on our YouTube channel to see it in action!