The Huawei Mate 20 planned to be released in the second half of the year will feature an in-screen fingerprint reader from Qualcomm, DigiTimes reported Friday, citing industry sources close to the Chinese company. The insiders cited by the source refer to the upcoming device as the Mate 11, though numerous previous reports suggested Huawei is transitioning to a new Android flagship naming scheme this year, with the successors to the P10 lineup already being confirmed to launch under the P20 brand. The fingerprint reader featured by the upcoming phablet is said to be of the ultrasonic variety and developed by Qualcomm, with Huawei supposedly pursuing its commercialization in an aggressive manner so as to ensure its final high-end device of 2018 has a unique selling point that could allow it to differentiate from its rivals.
Whether the company achieves that goal remains to be seen, with recent reports indicating Samsung still hasn’t given up on the idea of implementing an in-display fingerprint scanner into the Galaxy Note 9 despite numerous technical issues it encountered so far. At least one of Apple’s 2018 iPhone models is also expected to support the same technology. Sources claim the Mate 20 is planned to be released near the end of Q3 or in early Q4, much like its predecessor. The Mate 10 lineup was officially announced on October 16 in Berlin, Germany. Huawei has been placing an increasing focus on Europe following its unsuccessful attempt to penetrate the U.S. market via a retail deal with AT&T and is now also set to hold the P20 launch event in Paris, France, next Tuesday. The Mate 20 lineup is hence also likely to end up being unveiled on the Old Continent.
Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader solutions have been developed in collaboration with Chinese O-fil Tech and Taiwanese GIS, with the technology already being announced last summer. The system can work through 800-micron glass, whereas traditional sensors can’t operate when covered with more than 300 microns of glass. The new solution is also said to be extremely accurate at reading wet fingerprints which is a shortcoming of traditional sensors and can even function underwater. In-display fingerprint readers are expected to enjoy mass adoption in the mobile industry before 3D cameras like the one found inside the iPhone X do, sources claim, citing manufacturing costs and possible IP protection issues that are yet to be resolved as the main reasons why China’s OEMs remain unwilling to embrace them this year.