Microsoft is rumored to be phasing out its popular Lumia-branded handsets in favor of its own Surface brand lineup of smartphones, and now a new patent discloses that the alleged Surface Phone from the company could tout a novel fingerprint scanner.
A patent titled "Fingerprint Detection with Transparent Cover," which was submitted by Microsoft in February 2015 and published on August 25, 2016, reveals that the Redmond-based company is considering the notion of equipping the purported Surface Phone with a fingerprint scanner.
However, unlike most handsets that sport the fingerprint sensor either on the rear of the device or on its home button, the Microsoft will apparently integrate the scanner on the device's display.
The patent has been filed with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and shares that the technology deployed by Microsoft would use a filter and wave guide below the display's glass.
Basically, when a user would hypothetically key in a fingerprint onto the Surface Phone's display, the sensor on the glass side would be able to scan the different ridges of their unique print.
"An electronic device includes a transparent cover and a light source disposed at an edge of the transparent cover. The light source is configured to inject light into the transparent cover. The transparent cover guides the light until interaction with a fingerprint ridge at the transparent cover. The electronic device further includes a filter disposed along the transparent cover. The filter is configured to selectively allow the light scattered by the fingerprint ridge to pass through the filter," notes the patent.
With this process allowing for a fingerprint scanner on screen, Microsoft would be able to make the handset thinner as it would free up space used for the component. The patent also says that the upcoming technology will be compatible with LED and AMOLED displays.
Previous rumors hint that the handset is anticipated to be released in 2017. The consumer variant will likely tout a 5.5-inch display, whereas the business version will have a 6-inch screen. The smartphone is also rumored to house Intel's 14nm Kaby Lake processor, a 21-megapixel primary camera and an 8-megapixel selfie snapper, and run Windows 10 Mobile out of the box.
Whether or not the ambitious smartphone will also eventually imbibe the patented fingerprint scanning technology remains to be seen.