In December, manufacturing company Synaptics announced that it's created a technology allowing fingerprint scanners to be placed under displays. At CES 2018, Vivo unveiled the first smartphone to implement that. Surprisingly, it works pretty well for the most part.
Vivo Debuts In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
In a demonstration, a Vivo representative woke her phone by raising it, at which point an icon appeared near the bottom of the display where the home button might normally be located. She then placed her fingerprint on that icon, and the phone unlocked shortly thereafter. The said icon isn't a permanent fixture on the screen, though. Once the phone is unlocked, it goes away and allows the user to enjoy the whole display.
Setting up the in-display scanner was pretty much similar as with a traditional fingerprint sensor — the only evident difference is that Vivo's technology runs a tad bit slower, as The Verge points out, though not to a point where it becomes frustrating. Because every fingerprint scanner on smartphones nowadays are so tremendously fast and accurate, the delay on Vivo's phone feels more noticeable.
The technology has been in development for years. In fact, it was reported that Samsung and Synaptics were both working on this for the Galaxy S8 but didn't have enough time to implement it properly. The sensor sits between the mainboard and the OLED panel where it illuminates the whole of one's finger peers through the gaps of pixels and scans it for confirmation. That process is also otherwise known as magic. All kidding aside, however, it's quite startling that Vivo won the in-display race, speeding ahead of Samsung and Apple.
Vivo is close to formally announcing this phone, which is yet to be given a proper name. Furthermore, in-display fingerprint scanners are bound to be more widely used considering Synaptics is already mass producing it as we speak.
The only possible downside with this kind of technology is that it requires an OLED phone, as LCDs wouldn't work because of their backlight. That's a problem because not only are they a bit more expensive, but they're also more difficult to produce of overwhelming demand, plus the scant number of companies — Samsung and LG comes to mind — that produce them.
Even still, this looks to be where the future of smartphones is headed, and right now it looks very exciting.