Qualcomm’s next-gen fingerprint sensor is 17x larger

The 3D Sonic Max will use ultrasound scanners instead of optical

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In-display fingerprint sensors have only recently risen to popularity yet it’s no surprise that Qualcomm is already updating the technology. Announced at the 2019 Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm showcased their new 3D Sonic Max, the second generation of the company’s 3D Sonic in-display fingerprint sensor.

The 3D Sonic Max was debuted alongside the news of the release of their new chipsets, the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765/765G. The new 3D Sonic Max’s most notable improvement over its predecessor is the increase in its size. The new sensor is 17 times larger than before, measuring 20mm x 30mm and it’s also thinner (0.15mm.) This increased sensor size will vastly improve the fingerprint registration experience and it should reduce the need to tap the screen multiple times for a fingerprint to fully register. It is also large enough to accommodate two fingerprints at once for extra security, and it simply provides a larger scanning area for improved ease of use.

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Additionally, the 3D Sonic Max will no longer utilize optical sensors embedded under the screen as seen in most smartphones today. It will, instead, use ultrasound sensors to read and register fingerprints. While not as fast as optical sensors, ultrasound sensors are far more secure and they are being used to address the previous security issues with the first generation optical sensors.

Qualcomm states that the new ultrasound sensor will still be fast and easy to use. As to when phones will start utilizing this technology is still unclear, but it’s most likely that a few companies will start using this technology in 2020.

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Disclaimer: Our travel to the Snapdragon Summit was sponsored by Qualcomm. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.