Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2
Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 (Image: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm has just announced an upgraded fingerprint sensor for smartphones based on its proprietary ultrasonic technology that is claimed to recognize the patterns even the finger is wet. Qualcomm is calling it the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2, and from what the company is promising, it will address two of the biggest pain points associated with the first iteration that was announced back in 2019 – recognition speed and sensing area.

Qualcomm's new fingerprint sensor is 50% faster and 77% larger

Qualcomm says that its second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is 50% faster compared to the first-gen solution. Additionally, Qualcomm claims that its latest solution is also 77% larger, which means users will have more leg-room when it comes to placing their fingers on the sensor from varied angles and still get past the authentication process with ease. “This larger sensor combined with faster processing will be 50% faster than Gen 1 so you can unlock your device quicker than ever,” Qualcomm says.

The second ultrasonic fingerprint by Qualcomm has a surface area of 64mm sq. (8x8mm) with a square profile, while the first-gen iteration only measured 36mm sq. (4x9mm) and had a rectangular outline. Qualcomm says that the increased surface area of the sensor means it can now capture 1.7x more biometric data for a faster and more secure authentication experience.

3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will likely appear inside the Galaxy S21

The company says that its second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor will make its way to smartphones in early 2021. And given its previous collaboration with Samsung, it is highly likely that the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 will make its way to the Samsung Galaxy S21 family that debuts on January 14 at Samsung’s next Galaxy Unpacked event.

In case you’re wondering, Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor relies on sound waves to read the valleys and ridges on fingerprints, and uses the ultrasonic pulse reflection data to create a 3D map of the fingerprint for authentication. This approach is said to make it make secure compared to the optical sensors that have so far been faster.

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.
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