Although rumored and expected to be the first time, the Samsung in-display fingerprint scanner came to the party too late. Perhaps in an effort to make the delay worthwhile, Samsung also opted to adopt a biometric technology that none of its competitors had: Qualcomm’s in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. While presented as a feature bullet point, this has become a security obligation for this year’s Samsung flagship and may force the world’s largest smartphone maker to abandon ship early.
It is not that Qualcomm’s ultrasonic technology is that new. It first came back in 2015, but there were no mass takers and, therefore, no real-world testing. It was heavily advertised as a more accurate and more reliable alternative to traditional optical fingerprint scanners because it did not rely on visible light.
In practice, however, it was the exact opposite, at least in their implementation inside the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10. How a fingerprint scanner could authenticate to practically anyone, using Screen Protector, was flooded by pure, quickly forcing Samsung. To resolve this issue find a solution and discourage the use of third-party screen protectors.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done, more to Samsung than to Qualcomm directly. Financial and security institutions have practically blacklisted or blocked both of these phones or fingerprint security features due to their inherent security risk. In return, this would inconvenience users by forcing them to fall back on the PIN or password.
According to one analyst, Samsung may be forced to dig Qualcomm’s technology for regular optical in-display sensors. Coincidentally, it could also boost Korea’s economy if Samsung uses local components instead of importing US-made technology. It is not the case that optical in-display fingerprint scanners are all created equally and some offer less than impressive performance over others.