According to a recent rumor passed along by tipster MMDDJ on Twitter, Samsung's first smartphone to employ an in-display fingerprint sensor could debut in China, suggesting that the OEM's foray won't be based around a premium flagship phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10 which is expected to be introduced in the first half of 2019. Seeing how Samsung's mobile head, DJ Koh, recently stated that premium-grade features will start debuting on non-flagship phones before being brought over to devices in the upper market segments, it wouldn't be too surprising if the in-display fingerprint sensor technology will be pilot tested by the OEM on smartphone models and lineups that don't define the company's premium products.
As for debuting its first smartphone equipped with an in-display fingerprint sensor in China first, this, too, makes some sense from a strategic point of view because China is currently the market where the majority of smartphones equipped with in-display fingerprint sensors are being commercialized by OEMs including Vivo, Huawei, and OPPO. Additionally, major component suppliers including Goodix and Silead are also headquartered in China and according to recent analyst reports, both of these companies will likely be forced to offer lower prices next year amid increased competition. However, Samsung's in-display fingerprint sensor for the Galaxy S10 is expected to be supplied by US-based Qualcomm, whose in-display fingerprint sensing technology relies on ultrasonic rather than being optical-based. Nevertheless, it's not entirely clear whether Qualcomm's solution will be employed by Samsung only for the premium segment, or if the same ultrasonic-based sensors will make it onto the OEM's lower-tier smartphone models.
It's worth noting that the leaker also previously suggested Samsung will replace the Galaxy J series next year with a new, so-called Galaxy P lineup. Furthermore, in another recent tweet posted a minute apart from the one regarding Samsung's in-display sensor debuting in China, the same source also said that the Korean OEM is likely to release the Samsung Galaxy P1 next month, suggesting that this particular smartphone model could become the point of origin for Samsung's implementation of in-display sensors on mobile devices. On the other hand, previous reports indicated that Samsung might first include this type of technology in a smartphone belonging to the Galaxy A series, which as far as rumors go, isn't threatened to be replaced by the Galaxy P lineup. Whatever the case may be, in-panel biometric authentication methods are expected to gain a lot of popularity next year, and Samsung is unlikely to miss the party, but whether it will join it earlier, i.e., before the end of the year, remains to be seen.