Fingerprint sensors are one of the most popular ways to unlock your devices today, particularly your smartphone. Synaptics is adding to its line of fingerprint sensors to offer more possibilities to OEMs for clever material and placement use of its sensors. The company just announced the new FS4600 family of Natural ID fingerprint sensors that’s scheduled for sampling by the end of Q2 2017 and should be ready for mass production in Q3 2017.
The first thing of note about the FS4600 fingerprint sensor line is that it can support a bunch of different shapes including square, round, and pill. The sensors also support different coatings including polymers, ceramics, or glass, which should hopefully make it easier for OEMs to incorporate them into the designs of their mobile devices (Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 smartphone has an all-glass back and a nearly all-display front).
The new sensors also support force-sensitive controls for “customer-specific applications” as well as swipe gestures. Force-sensitive controls sounds like Apple’s ForceTouch feature but for a fingerprint sensor instead of a display. If it works similarly, it would allow other smartphones to use the fingerprint sensor like a button depending on how hard you press it. For example, a soft press could unlock the smartphone while a harder press could open an app-specific menu. Swipe gestures on a fingerprint sensor are not a totally new feature (Huawei and others have incorporated it into its handsets in the past), but Synaptics’ integration of it could make it more ubiquitous across future smartphones.
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