During the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017, Vivo demonstrated one piece of mobile technology that other smartphone makers (read: Samsung) have been having trouble with getting right: an under-display fingerprint scanner.
Sound familiar? That's because it is. Apple has long been known to be working on the feature for the upcoming iPhone 8. From the look of things, the Chinese company is out to steal the thunder of the Cupertino brand, touting the biometric thingamajig as if it thought up the idea first.
Vivo Demos Qualcomm's Fingerprint Sensors
At the event, Qualcomm unveiled its next-generation ultrasonic fingerprint-reading solution called Fingerprint Sensors.
The technology is capable of working through displays of up to 1.2mm thick, glass of up to 0.8mm, or aluminum of up to 0.65mm. The kicker is it'll function even if it's submerged underwater.
"We are excited to announce Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors because they can be designed to support sleeker, cutting-edge form factors, unique mobile authentication experiences, and enhanced security authentication. This provides OEMs and operators with the ability to offer truly distinct, differentiated devices with added value on truly groundbreaking new devices," Seshu Madhavapeddy, Qualcomm's vice president of product management, said.
One of the first smartphones to take advantage of Fingerprint Sensors comes from — yup, you guessed it — Vivo. The device in question appears to be the Vivo Xplay6, but it's only a prototype meant to showcase the biometric technology.
In other words, it won't be landing on store shelves anytime soon.
At any rate, here's what Vivo wants to bring to the table:
Vivo 'Overtakes' Apple With A Slow Under-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Richard Lai of Engadget got to take the Vivo Xplay6 prototype equipped with the Fingerprint Sensors out for a spin. The gist of it is that while it's doing the job it's set out to do well, it's lagging behind in terms of speed.
"I found the fingerprint recognition speed to be noticeably slower — about one second between first touch and entering home screen — than the near-instantaneous unlock that I'm used to on most recent smartphones," he says, noting that he was also disappointed by the small recognition area.
— Richard Lai (@richardlai) June 28, 2017
Vivo Not Exactly Getting Ahead
Sure, Vivo got a working device with an under-display fingerprint scanner out and even let attendees of MWC Shanghai test it out to boot, but it's not gaining miles over Apple in this race.
Basically, what the Chinese smartphone maker and Qualcomm did here is beat Apple to the punch of officially announcing the technology, and that's because the iPhone manufacturer doesn't announce new features and the like for its products until its devices are near ready to roll out.
Before wrapping things up, it's worth mentioning that the iPhone 8 is said to launch sometime in September, and leaks have been pointing to an under-display fingerprint scanner, particularly the front and back panels that got out ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, devices with Fingerprint Sensors are expected to go official during the first half of 2018, and by that time, the iPhone 8 could already be widely available with the technology in question.