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In-display fingerprint sensor launching first on a Vivo phone

On December 12, Synaptics (one of the biggest names in the biometric industry) announced that it was finally ready to start mass-producing the first-ever fingerprint sensor that's hidden underneath a smartphone display. Synaptics initially said that this technology would first be available on a smartphone from one of the "top 5" OEMs, and we now know that that OEM is none other than Vivo.

Synaptics is using its new Clear ID FS9500 sensor to make this all possible, and according to Forbes reporter Patrick Moorhead, using the new sensor is "fast and simple." The sensor doesn't actually turn on until you're ready to use it to help conserve battery life, and when you do go to unlock your phone, you'll see a fingerprint icon near the bottom of your phone's display.

Just put your finger on this icon (that OEMs can customize the look of) and your phone will be unlocked with the same level of security and convenience we've come to expect from sensors on current handsets.

Vivo's unnamed smartphone will be the first to market with Synaptics' Clear ID FS9500, but it shouldn't be too long after that in which we see other OEMs adopt this technology as well. It's highly unlikely Samsung will feature this technology on the Galaxy S9, but there's a very good possibility it'll make an appearance on the Note 9 later in 2018.

Synaptics announces world's first in-display fingerprint sensor, launching with a 'top 5' smartphone OEM

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

40 Comments
  • I see Samsung possibly doing this for the Note 9. I think I'll skip the first gen and let all the kinks get worked out for 2nd gen. But finally!!!
  • Exactly my feelings. My phone's fingerprint scanner (1st gen) is sometimes really annoying, and new phones make it seem so effortless. It's likely to be the same with this.
    Plus, 2nd gen will most likely go to more models than the 'test wave'.
  • "The sensor doesn't actually turn on until you're ready to use it" What does that mean? You have to press the power button first, and then use the FPS?
  • Most likely a double tap to wake the screen and a third tap to unlock.
  • And how is this an advance? I suppose it might be nice for in-app identity checks - but the only thing I use my FPS scanner for is to turn on my phone and unlock it with a single touch. This fails at that most basic function - whereas an FPS on the back (where God intended it) does the job nicely, leaving room for that bezel-less front we've all been told we want...
  • Exactly this. In display FPS is pointless if you have to wake the phone first.
  • I don't know about other phones, but my Note 8 has either 1. Motion sensor to awake the phone and use the FPS
    2. Pressure button to away the phone and use the FPS I would like to see them do the pressure button and utilize this at the same time. But most phones that has the FPS still has to be awaken to use anyways.
  • I would rather it just work. Like an LG, pixel, or Huawei. Those phones allow you to unlock without any other gesture or motion, simply touch the fps. As it should be.
  • Exactly, one step instead of two or three.
  • Well I guess my Note 8 does that too, which I didn't even pay attention to. I never use the FP scanner because IRIS scanner unlocks or trusted agents keeps my phone unlock. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Yeah, Samsung finally caught with the s8 and note 8. But up till then....it was annoying as hell.
  • But what about banking apps or contactless payments. They only use the FPS and don't even give the option for the other biometrics
  • We're talking about screen unlock. I still use FP for apps.
  • Apple does that too I believe
  • Are you sure you can't unlock it just by touching the FPS? I have the S8+ and that's all I have to do. Don't need to press power or anything else to get to the lock screen. Will open right from the AOD with the FPS.
  • I second this, as soon as u put the finger on the GPS it turns on, it's a setting
  • Check my comment above...
  • I'll be damned. It works!
  • I don't think any phone with a fps had to be awaken to use it most phones use the fps as either the home button or power button that wakes it up when touched
  • Samsung phones did this up until the note 8 and s8 series. It was maddening on my s7.
  • Any gesture that wakes the phone - the power button, double tap to wake, lift to wake, etc.
  • I also would suspect this can change with OEM to OEM on how they utilize the FPS to unlock the phone. Which is why I don't expect much from the 1st gen of this and prefer to wait to see it advance.
  • Can't wait for Apple to invent this!
  • Really! insecure much?
  • I think you missed the sarcasm?
  • That's it Exactly!
  • They'll probably do a much better job like they always do. Also, bef other companies like Samsung that started getting obsessed in developing /having the fingerprint sensor in late October /early November 2016 underneath the display bef Apple for their S8 debute rumors of Apple were already going on since early 2015 of them adding that feature to the redesign iPhone that was coming in a few years time.
  • Nope. Apple filed their first patent for an underscreen sensor in 2013, but this was beaten by at least two years as Validity filed one in 2011. https://www.google.com/patents/US20110102567
  • A better job like how they failed to demonstrate their face unlock three times during their announcement? That's cute.
  • It will indeed be a courageous, incredible, awesome and amazing once they "invent" it.
  • You forgot "inspiring". :)
  • Sounds gee whiz and all...but I've done both front mounted fingerprint sensors (Samsung, Motorola and *cough* Apple) and rear mounted (Pixel, Essential) and the rear mounted sensors are better placed for every day use. Sensors low in front are a pain - I don't naturally hold a phone with my finger on top of the screen. The rear mounted sensors put the thing where my finger actually is and they just plain work better. So in-screen or below the screen - no thanks, keep it on the back.
  • I wonder how you survived when they had capacitive buttons.
  • The placement seems to be very subjective. Some people love the front placement while others love the rear placement. Like you, I prefer rear placement. Honestly, I'm more than happy with fingerprint readers not in the screen. I don't want to pay extra money for that Synaptics tech. What we've got now works fine, and works quickly. I think Apple made a big mistake not leaving a fingerprint reader in the iPhoneX, and I really can't see what all the fuss is about having those fingerprint button integrated into the screen is. As long as in Samsung 's case they move it to an easy to reach place, I think they should be good to go. Seems like these companies are rushing to solve a problem that doesn't rally exist.
  • So I guess your phone never lays flat on the table? Your phone never sits in a dock? The fingerprint sensor on the back is a real pain if you always have to pick up the phone to unlock it.
  • For me fps on the front is way better than back
  • I'm excited! Never thought that Vivo would be the one to push this technology forward. Always assumed it would be one of the major manufacturers.
  • They showed this feature months ago. I'm not surprised at all.
  • This is going to be so SLOW!!! Current fingerprint sensors at the back or on the home button works just fine! Hope the display quality don't take a hit because of this! Not a useful "innovation"
  • It's just clearing the way (no pun intended) for completely transparent phones like in Iron Man.