ABI Research’s Teardowns service finds first hidden under-display fingerprint sensor bites into Apple’s face recognition technology

What makes the Vivo X20 Plus UD smartphone so important is that it is the first smartphone to use Synaptics’ under-display fingerprint sensor, and it has the potential to bite into Apple’s face recognition technology, announced the Teardowns service of ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

(PRNewsfoto/ABI Research)

(PRNewsfoto/ABI Research)

Traditional fingerprint sensors are either embedded under the home key on the front of the mobile phone or on the back of the phone. Placing the fingerprint sensor under the display on the front of the mobile phone should allow for a borderless display on three sides of the display. The top still requires room for the front camera, proximity sensor, and receiver, etc. However, Vivo did not take full advantage of the new fingerprint technology from Synaptics. Vivo retained a significant border below the display along the bottom of the phone.

“Vivo may have been cautious to fully commit to the new technology and left room to fall back to a traditional sensor below the display,” said Jim Mielke, ABI Research’s vice president of the Teardowns service. “The performance of this first implementation does warrant some caution as the sensor seemed less responsive and required increased pressure to unlock the phone.”

Smartphone manufacturers are continually trying to achieve the truly borderless phone, and currently there are only three ways to achieve and still maintain biometric security: fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, fingerprint sensor under the display, and facial/retina-based recognition. Despite the non-optimal capabilities, the Vivo X20 Plus UD is well ahead of Apple’s face recognition technology.

“Face recognition on smartphones is five times easier to spoof than fingerprint recognition,” stated ABI Research Industry Analyst Dimitrios Pavlakis (“Executive Foresights: Did Apple Miss the Bus – The Display – Integrated Fingerprint Sensor Gives the Industry a Much-Needed Push“). “Despite the decision to forgo its trademark sapphire sensor in the iPhone X in favor of face recognition (FaceID,) Apple may be now forced to return to fingerprints in the next iPhone,” added Pavlakis.

Fingerprint sensors are increasingly becoming more relevant with a host of new banking, financial institution and payment service providers getting behind the technology.

Vivo, a 9-year-old company based in China, was smart to partner with California-based Synaptics, which has 30-plus years of experience in the “human interface revolution” by offering touch, display and biometrics products.

ABI Research’s Teardowns reports feature ultra-high-resolution imaging, pinpoint power measurements, detailed parts list with fully costed BOMs (bill of materials), block diagrams and x-rays. ABI Research performs the highest resolution imagery in the teardown industry, providing unprecedented competitive analysis on components, cost, and chip system functionality.

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