Vivo may have just beat both Apple and Samsung to the optical fingerprint reader. A leaked video on Weibo purportedly shows a Vivo phone being unlocked by holding a thumb to the display. The text claims that this was done using biometrics, but it isn’t easy to verify the claim.
Both Apple and Samsung are reportedly working on fingerprint readers embedded in device displays. The idea is that this would free up more space on a smartphone by removing the physical sensor. A technology that is important as manufacturers now race to squeeze bigger displays into the same amount of space as existing phones.
The current solution of placing the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone has proven to be divisive. Some consumers find the location to be convenient and ergonomic; while many still prefer having the sensor on the front. It would at least make sense for electronic payment systems that require verification while the phone is touching a terminal.
Rumour has it that Vivo is scheduled to hold a press conference at MWC Shanghai on 28 June. It’s unclear if this technology will actually be demoed at the event, although it would seem like the most likely place to announce it.
Apple is expected to have a similar technology available for the next iPhone; but no real information about it has emerged from the aether. Nor has anything been heard from Samsung about the matter. Still, both companies still have one more big smartphone announcement set for later this year.