Samsung's 2020 line-up of smartphones may drop Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint tech
Rumor mill: For its upcoming Galaxy phones, Samsung might drop Qualcomm’s in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor after security concerns of industry officials and consumers around the technology, which likely emanated from the fact that its latest flagships were recently subject to a faulty implementation of the sensor, blacklisting them across several international banks.
Samsung’s use of the Qualcomm ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner on its phones was one of the very few places where the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 flagships lagged behind the competition. The technology not only arrived late on Samsung’s phones (competitors were already using optical in-display fingerprint sensors), but it was also found to be slightly slower and less accurate than its in-display alternative.
Now it seems Samsung could be looking to avoid such an incident again, according to The Korea Times, which reports a telecom official saying that the company “applied the ultrasonic fingerprint scanners to its new smartphones despite lingering security concerns.”
The official also pointed out the technology’s limitations, which require developers to be extra careful when designing software for the sensor as well as the need to regularly push security updates.
The publication notes that despite Samsung fixing the issue, the company’s reputation in the financial and security industries might have already suffered since an increasing number of people use smartphones for banking and security-sensitive services.
Considering these issues and the problematic relationship of the ultrasonic sensor with third-party screen protectors, a local analyst mentioned the possibility of Samsung abandoning this technology in its future smartphones.
The move could also benefit the Korean industry, as Lee Jong-wook, a Samsung Securities analyst, notes that if the company “replaces the fingerprint sensors in question with traditional optical scanners, this would benefit domestic companies that offer optical scanners.”
Qualcomm, however, isn’t likely to give up without a fight, as the company is expected to reveal an improved ultrasonic fingerprint reader at its Snapdragon Tech Summit 2019, a three-day event that begins on December 3 in Maui, Hawaii.