Enlarge / THIS is actually the most accurate finger angle for the tall, skinny fingerprint reader.

The problem is this is not really comfortable. (credit: Ron Amadeo)
The next wave of fingerprint readers on smart devices could be more inconspicuous than they are now.

Earlier this year, Synaptics announced a new range of fingerprint sensors that can be integrated under polymers, ceramics, and glass, potentially providing more functions to Android soft buttons. Rumor has it that Apple has also been experimenting specifically with under-display fingerprint readers, and that’s the area that Qualcomm has been focusing on as well.

At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the chip maker showed off its first ultrasonic-based, under-display fingerprint sensors in a prototype of the existing Vivo Xplay6 smartphone.
The technology built into this prototype allows the bottom-third of the smartphone’s display to act as the fingerprint reader and unlock the device.

As demonstrated in a hands-on demo by Engadget, you simply press your thumb to the display and the device unlocks within a second or so of reading your fingerprint.
It doesn’t appear to be a speedy as traditional smartphone fingerprint sensors, but that’s not surprising since the technology is still in its infancy and hasn’t yet been incorporated into any consumer devices.

According to Vivo, the technology could be built out so the entire display could act as a fingerprint sensor. However, that will up the production costs dramatically.

Engadget’s report says that Vivo could eventually spread the technology through the bottom half of the display rather than just a small portion close to the bottom edge.
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