The fingerprint sensor has come a long way in the smartphone industry. Basically, we all know It is used as an extra layer of security after you must have chosen a PIN or password as an alternative Unlock option. Asides this, Little is known about which phone First housed a fingerprint sensor. Although, the technology is popularly and widely known to be first implemented by Motorola in their Motorola Atrix phone Sometime in 2011. However, Other smartphone manufacturers seem to have implemented this earlier than Motorola Did. Some of these phones include the Acer M900, Toshiba G900, Pantech GI100 and probably others.
The tech was then added to the 2013 iPhone 5s (First iPhone with a fingerprint Sensor) by Apple which was dubbed the Touch ID. This then began the revolution of the fingerprint sensor a.k.a Touch ID which other phone manufacturers also implemented and still implementing on a host of their various devices to date. However, different smart phone companies felt differently about the placement of the fingerprint sensor on their phones. This has led to the fingerprint sensor popping up on different parts of Smart phones; front, Back and even on the side.
After almost a decade since it first came to the phone industry, the fingerprint sensor seems to be gradually phasing out, funny enough, without anyone even realizing it. Or Should I say being replaced by the Face ID/Facial Recognition. However, it all Started with the fingerprint sensor being pushed away from the front of the phone by smart phone makers in order to achieve a full-screen display also known as Bezel-less Display, Edge-to-edge display, and Infinity Display.
18:9 and 19:9 Aspect Ratios; Fingerprint Sensor Pushed To The Back
Below the screen seemed to be the best position to house a fingerprint sensor with a lot of people saying that it is more easily accessible and convenient to use in that spot. As you can unlock and use your phone with the fingerprint sensor without having to pick up your device when faced up. However, with the recent 18:9 and 19:9 display becoming a norm, there is literally no space on the home screen to house the fingerprint sensor.
This has prompted most Smartphone manufacturers to move the fingerprint sensor away from the front and to other places. Some moved theirs to the back of the device (Samsung Galaxy S7 >> Samsung Galaxy S8). Some Others have even moved theirs to the side of their device(s) (Meizu M6s) as it was used by Motorola. However, it seems things have recently taken a turn as the fingerprint sensor looks to be staging a comeback to the front. This time, going underneath the display/screen.
In-Display Fingerprint Sensor; A Perfect Compromise?
When the 18:9 and 19:9 trend started and phone manufacturers started pushing the boundaries towards an edge-to-edge display. We knew a lot of things would leave the screen. Things like the camera, speaker grill and sadly the fingerprint sensor (for phones with Front mounted fingerprint sensors). Now, Moving the fingerprint sensor to the back to achieve a full-screen display to me isn’t that bad but there are some issues as it has always been with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
The placement of the fingerprint sensor is usually not accurate; either too high up or too far down and you have to swipe around the back most times with your index finger looking for the fingerprint before getting used to it. Even at that, you even end up smudging your camera a couple of times in the process of locating the fingerprint sensor. The In-Display fingerprint sensor (Found on the Vivo NEX S, Vivo X21 UD, Xiaomi Mi 8 EE etc) seems to solve all that as you won’t even know it is there and utilizes the bottom half of the screen as the fingerprint sensor. It also gives more room at the back for more cameras without it looking packed which is somewhat important now that we are having Triple rear cameras and possibly four or five in the future.
Nevertheless, it is still quite too early to celebrate this feat given that the In-Display fingerprint sensor is reportedly said to be a lot slower than the usual one we are used to. This is understandable as the technology is probably in its development phase and needs more upgrade.
Good Bye Fingerprint Sensor, Welcome Face ID/Facial Recognition
The In-Display Fingerprint Sensor is still in its development phase with some phone makers including it in their various Smartphones. Currently, there are only a handful of devices sporting the In-Display fingerprint sensor and while that looks promising, not all the phone makers seem interested in pursuing this. One of which being Apple. Apple ditched the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone X, Leaving it with only the Face ID/Facial Recognition which according to Wikipedia is meant to “succeed” the Touch ID.
Oppo has recently followed suit by also ditching the fingerprint sensor on their newly released Oppo Find X which has just the Face ID as the only extra layer of security. It is only a matter of time before other big names in the phone industry like Samsung, Xiaomi, Nokia etc also leave the Touch ID/Fingerprint Sensor behind and move on to using only the Face ID/Facial Recognition.
Apple still isn’t budging on the in-display fingerprint sensor as they’ve recently released a funny face ID commercial. In apple’s word, they said: “Your face is your password” (You can watch the video below). Add this to the to the fact that we haven’t heard anything about a fingerprint sensor (both at the back or underneath the display) on any of the three upcoming iPhones which are expected to arrive soon.
Personally, I wouldn’t want the fingerprint sensor to phase out just yet as it is much easier to be used compared to Face ID but it is starting to look like the fingerprint sensor Won’t be around much longer.
These are just my views and I strongly believe other phone makers will tow the path of Apple and OPPO by using only Facial Recognition in the coming years. What do you think? Will the Touch ID outlast Face ID or will the Touch ID be gone before we know it? Let us know in the comment section down below.