Qualcomm upgrades its sonic fingerprint sensor with faster speeds, larger surface area

It’s more secure, reliable, and may even work when your finger is wet.

During CES 2021, Qualcomm unveiled its new 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2. It’s the second generation of the company’s sonic fingerprint sensor that was made popular by Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series in 2019. It was billed as a better version of the optical sensor companies were using up until that point, but the sonic reader ultimately fell flat with reliability and performance issues galore.

The company clearly hopes to fix most of the those problems with this new generation. The actual surface area of the sensor is larger at 8mm x 8mm opposed to 4mm x 9mm. It’s a 77 percent increase in surface area, one that will result in 1.7x the amount of biometric data captured from your fingerprint, according to Qualcomm. It’s also apparently 50 percent faster which is the most appealing stat from this announcement.

Qualcomm also touts that the new sensor should work well if your finger is wet. This is a huge problem for in-display fingerprint sensors right now, so it should be interesting to see if the new 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 can fix that.

Qualcomm didn’t specify when or where the new sensor would debut on the market, but it’s worth expecting Samsung to include it on its Galaxy S21 series smartphones since they’ll be announced this Thursday.


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