Qualcomm has announced a second-generation version of its ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, the 3D Sonic Max, which promises to solve the problems with the original 3D Sonic Sensor by offering a sensor that is 17 times larger. The 3D Sonic Max is so large that it can read two fingerprints at the same time for extra authentication, through Engadget.
The company's first-generation ultrasonic fingerprint reader, the 3D Sonic Sensor, promised improved reliability and security over existing optical in-display fingerprint readers. Despite a controversial debut in the Galaxy S10 from Samsung, the first generation 3D Sonic Sensor was plagued by problems, including problems to accurately read the smaller sensor prints, low speeds and a notable vulnerability caused by some types of screen protectors that was only released in October established.
The new sensor seems to address these problems because it is enormously larger: whereas the old sensor measures 4 mm x 9 mm, the new 3D Sonic Max is 20 mm x 30 mm or 17 times larger. According to Qualcomm, that should help solve most previous problems. The larger sensor makes it much easier to place a fingerprint (to prevent positioning problems).
And in an interview with CNET, Alex Katouzian, SVP and general manager of mobile at Qualcomm, noted that the new 3D Sonic Max should avoid problems with the screen protector by making a clearer full fingerprint when reading due to the larger scanner size. The option to require two simultaneous fingerprints to scan together should also help to increase security options.
However, one thing that will not change is the speed. According to Katouzian, scanning a fingerprint takes about the same amount of time with the new sensor as with the old one.
We will have to test the new 3D Sonic Max to see if it actually solves the problems of the original 3D Sonic Sensor. No word is yet known about which companies will actually use the 3D Sonic Max in devices, although there should be more news about this by 2020. A potential customer can be particularly interesting: early rumors claim that Apple is investigating Qualcomm's technology to add an in-display fingerprint reader to the iPhone next year, per MacRumors.