Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology – a new type of fingerprint sensor said to be able to read prints through glass, metal and plastic smartphone covers – at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC).
The Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology is the latest product from the chipmaker.
Qualcomm says its ultrasonic sound wave-based solution can scan through sweat, hand lotion and condensation.
Experts say it has the potential to outclass Apple’s Touch ID.
Qualcomm said that its sensor works by using sound waves to penetrate the outer layers of the user’s finger.
The information gathered is then used to create a surface map of the person’s skin including the ridges of their fingerprints and sweat pores.
By contrast, Apple and others use capacitive sensors – which make use of the human body’s electrical properties – to take high-resolution scans of sub-epidermal skin below the outer layer of a user’s finger.
Qualcomm suggests its method is superior because it scans through both contaminants and smartphone covers.
“Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology’s unique use of ultrasonic technology revolutionizes biometrics from 2D to 3D, allowing for greater accuracy, privacy and stronger authentication,” said Raj Talluri, a Qualcomm executive.
Qualcomm is pitching its forthcoming component to manufacturers as part of a chipset package that would also include its processors.
The launch at MWC comes a day after Samsung confirmed that its latest Galaxy S6 phones would exclusively use its own Exynos chips.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors had featured in versions of Samsung’s past flagship handsets.
The US chipmaker has also suffered other setbacks recently including a $975 million fine by China’s competition regulator and news that a South Korean watchdog is also investigating whether it abused a dominant position by demanding too much money for its 3G and 4G wireless chip technologies.
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