Xiaomi is planning to release new mid-range smartphones equipped with in-display fingerprint sensors, according to a recent post from product manager Wang Teng Thomas, who broke the news on the Chinese social network Weibo. Some details have been lost in translation, but the main point to take from the post is that the OEM will push in-display fingerprint technology to more mid-range devices by the end of 2019. Exactly what smartphone models will take advantage of this technology is unclear, but more details could be revealed around Mobile World Congress.
When a new technology is introduced to the mobile market, OEMs tend to implement it on high-end smartphone models, but as it grows in popularity the said technology ends up being cheaper to implement and that's when it starts making its way towards lower market segments. This is true for in-display fingerprint sensors, and the industry can expect more mid-range smartphones to arrive with in-display fingerprint technology this year.
Xiaomi's first smartphone to take advantage of in-display scanners was the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition introduced in China last summer, and the phone was re-released in September for the global market as the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro. Evidently, it fits in the high-end market segment as denoted by the inclusion of the Snapdragon 845 chipset and a pressure-sensitive 6.21-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2248 x 1080 pixels. The device is also equipped with infrared face recognition technology.
While it remains to be seen what mid-range smartphone models will be the first to adopt in-display fingerprint sensors, the Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro is likely to get a direct sequel relatively soon and this could be a prime contender for introducing in-panel fingerprint sensors to the mid-range segment. The ongoing model already has a rear-mounted sensor but is based on IPS LCD display technology, which would mean that the sequel will likely need to switch to an AMOLED display in order to make the in-panel fingerprint sensor work.
Whatever the case may be, it's worth noting that Xiaomi is not the only OEM expected to make this feature available to smartphones situated below the high-end segment. For instance, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy A50 will also feature a fingerprint scanner under the display, and given the rate at which new leaks and rumors surrounding the device have emerged over the past few weeks, it will likely beat Xiaomi's mid-range solutions to the market.
This could become a key feature whose inclusion might dictate the market performance of numerous upcoming mid-range models, and the first OEMs to implement it on more budget-conscious devices might have a great advantage over those who will arrive late to the party. At the moment Xiaomi is one of the dominating brands in the mid-range segment for numerous markets, and the OEM might have to be quick in order to maintain its position.
As for the high-end segment, the Xiaomi Mi 9 will be the OEM's next flagship to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, and the device has already been confirmed to be officially introduced tomorrow, February 20 – the same date on which Samsung's premium Galaxy S10 series will be introduced.