By far the most buzzworthy new smartphone unveiled at CES 2018 earlier this week, Vivo’s in-display fingerprint-recognizing prototype sure looks familiar. That’s obviously because the unnamed “full-production” handset shares an overall design language with the OnePlus 5T and OPPO R11s, all three of which technically hail from the same Chinese parent company.

Not exactly a household name in the Western smartphone business, Vivo is big enough in China that its description as a top five brand by Synaptics was in fact accurate, at least for a little while.

After reportedly failing Samsung in delivering a functional screen-embedded fingerprint sensor in time for last year’s Galaxy S8 launch, Synaptics joined forces with Vivo, and the result of the two’s collaboration works surprisingly well.

Even though the world’s first smartphone with a (virtually) invisible fingerprint scanner might need a few more months before actually reaching store shelves around the world, its most important party trick is already comparable to many commercial solutions in terms of speed.

During the time we got to spend trying out the phone in Las Vegas, the on-display optical sensor, which is snugly fitted between the printed circuit board and OLED panel, only failed the device unlocking process a couple of times.

That means it’s not perfect yet from a reliability standpoint, but it could well get there soon enough. Will it become industry standard by the end of the year? Probably not. Will Samsung manage to “borrow” it from Vivo to help the Galaxy Note 9 challenge Apple’s next-gen iPhones in fancy biometric authentication technology? Perhaps.

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