The first phone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor in 2018 will be Vivo, a Chinese phone.
Vivo is big in China and it’s part of the giant BBK Electronics parent company, the same
company that owns Oppo and OnePlus. While you might be most familiar with OnePlus, it is actually the smallest of the three phone makers under BBK ownership.
The phone’s CMOS image sensor is 7mm thick and reads the fingerprint right through the OLED display.
As to the technology behind the in-display fingerprint scanner itself, carrying the model name Clear ID FS9500, it is designed to work with phones with an 18:9 and 20:9 orientation. These are the new breed of taller, usually “bezel-less” phones.
The new in-screen sensor is a small CMOS device placed below an AMOLED screen. In order for it to work, the finger has to be illuminated, so that the fingerprint scanner can read the reflections of the finger scan. To create this reflection, part of the screen has to light up, and then the finger reader
will capture the reflection between the AMOLED pixels.
The fingerprint scanner itself is very frugal,
consuming merely 80mA of power. The whole setup also uses the built-in accelerometer in the phone and other sensors to know when to activate the fingerprint reader and light up the
appropriate part of the display.
The overall process takes just 0.7 seconds, not quite as fast as the 0.2 seconds that are commonly advertized for traditional fingerprint scanners these days, but still faster than the average of 1.4 seconds it takes to use face recognition.
The Clear ID SF9500 sensor itself measures just 0.69mm in thickness and does not make smartphones significantly thicker. The sensor has to be embedded by the screen manufacturer where display assemblies are made.
The company says that the process of embedding the new finger scanner is not very complex, so it does not add much in terms
of cost of the final device.