Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its new fingerprint-reading technology that works through the screen and even metal. Some will quickly say that Qualcomm just beat Apple in this particular race, but all that Qualcomm did was to announce the technology a couple of months earlier than Apple. The first phones that will incorporate it will only be launched in the first half of next year. You know, after the iPhone 8 becomes widely available (probably).
One of these devices was demoed on at MWC Shanghai after Qualcomm’s announcement. But not even that handset will be available in stores ahead of the iPhone 8.
After teasing the tech as if it were Vivo’s own invention, the Chinese smartphone maker demoed it in Shanghai where Engadget got to play with a prototype that doesn’t even have a name, let alone a release date.
The device is based on the existing Vivo Xplay6, but don’t expect it in stores soon. Inside the phone, there’s Qualcomm’s fingerprint scanner that uses ultrasonic tech to read fingerprints through the screen. If that sounds familiar, that’s because Apple has at least a patent describing how such a technology would work.
Engadget says that the fingerprint recognition speed was “noticeably slower” than regular sensors found on current smartphones. There was a lag of about one second between touching the screen and the phone unlocking. A video showing the concept follows below.
Bear in mind, however, that it’s just a prototype device, and Vivo doesn’t even know when such technology will be available in its devices.
So Vivo only beat Apple in the marketing department, just as Qualcomm did. And that’s only because Apple never announces technologies that could be used in its future products ahead of time.
That said, rumors indicate that Apple’s own screen fingerprint technology is problematic, and could lead to iPhone 8 launch delays. We can only hope that when Apple does come out with such a product, fingerprint recognition will work just as fast as it does now.