At least two of the Galaxy S10 versions launching next year will come with in-display fingerprint sensors, and reports have suggested that Samsung may use ultrasonic sensors instead of the optical sensors available on competing devices. However, a couple of patent applications reveal that Samsung has spent considerable time perfecting optical in-display fingerprint sensors, suggesting that various Samsung phones could make use of the technology in the near future.
Last week, we looked at documentation describing a Samsung device featuring an in-display sensor, which suggested the sensor would be located towards the bottom of the screen. But Dutch blog Let’s Go Digital discovered a second patent application filed with the USPTO and WIPO earlier this year and published on October 18th.
Titled Method for acquiring biometric information and electronic device supporting the same, the patent application describes how the actual fingerprint scanning will occur.
Samsung suggests various locations for the actual fingerprint sensors, including above the screen (sensor 131a in the image above), within the display (132b), or below the screen (131c). The language seems to suggest that, in future devices, in-display fingerprint sensors may work regardless of where the user touches the screen.
The application notes that a low-power processor, which could mean the efficient core of an octa-core chip design, would handle the biometric sensor, touch sensor, and illumination sensor in order to initiate scans and screen unlocks quickly.
When the system detects a user’s finger, it would automatically perform a variety of scans by modulating the brightness of the display area where the finger touched the screen. The display could show additional content above the detection and scanning area that could provide aid to the user regarding the task at hand. The illustrations show a credit card image showing up on the display as the biometric sensor authenticates a payment.
What’s interesting about this patent is that Samsung uses an illustration showing a device with a notch in the documentation. Samsung has so far steered clear of notch designs on its Galaxy phones. Also, the patent contains smartphone renders that would remind you of pre-Galaxy S6 Samsung designs. Comparatively, the previous patent included images of devices that closely resembled modern Galaxy S9 designs.