Meet "boss" behind the trend of fingerprints under the screen on Chinese smartphones - VnReview
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Meet "boss" behind the trend of fingerprints under the screen on Chinese smartphones – VnReview

Fingerprint sensor technology under the screen has been quickly applied by Chinese firms to their smartphones. So who is behind these sensors?

A more recent smartphone is the OnePlus 7 Pro, which received a positive rating. In many advanced features, the fingerprint sensor under the screen is a favorite in this product because the unlocking time is only 0.2 seconds. There are many opinions that the OnePlus 7 Pro is the best sensor today among machines with the same technology. Neither the Huawei P30 Pro, Oppo Reno, Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition, or even the Galaxy S10 "outsider".

Fingerprint sensor under the screen has been a fiction in the past, now appears very popular

While Samsung uses Qualcomm's ultrasonic technology (fingerprint sensor module assembled by O-Film and GIS) on the S series, the mid-range A series uses EgisTec's optical sensor (poor quality). The Chinese companies all have one supplier. Founded in 2002, based in Shenzhen, Goodix creates fingerprint sensors for all vendors Huawei, LG, Dell, Xiaomi, Lenovo, … For years it is the type of capacitance embedded under the power key or a fixed area. But last year, their fingerprint sensor "sank" below the screen, creating a technological breakthrough that allowed customers to shrink the product border.

Years of conquest

Goodix was not the first company to successfully put the sensor under the screen completely. This technology has been noticed since the technology whispered at the end of 2016, Samsung cooperated with Synaptics (USA) to put the "Clear ID" optical sensor under the Galaxy S8 screen. That same year, Apple will also launch a new iPhone to celebrate 10 years (iPhone X itself). At the moment, fans of both are constantly arguing, insisting that the favorite will be the pioneer to bring the fingerprint sensor down the screen.

Solution from Synaptics, named "Clear ID"

But in the end no one made the user's dream come true. Apple unveiled the Face ID technology, while the iPhone 8 still uses the outdated capacitance of the home key. Samsung switched to cooperating with Qualcomm to find a completely new solution. After a year of refining, Clear ID was sent to Vivo by Synaptics and put on the product at CES 2018, making not only ifan and samfan "fall back", but also the tech world.

At the same time, Goodix came close to perfecting its optical fingerprint technology under its own display. The sensor captures fingerprints rather than chips like Synaptics, David Zhang, the company's founder, trying to persuade Vivo to wait patiently. "I told Vivo that this technology is not quite ready for commercialization, it needs more time to refine." – Zhang said. But then the company is still anxious to attract the world's eye, and they agree with the American company's solution.

Mixed emotions with the Vivo X21, both eager and frustrating

But, Zhang was right: Vivo's first two devices using Synaptics technology were on the market in April, 2018. Despite many praises because they pioneered this technology, all reviews gave find the sensor running poorly, slow speed. Later, Vivo acknowledged Goodix's technology better and transferred it to Vivo NEX. The effect is proved immediately, then other firms quickly find Goodix to order fingerprint sensors under the screen. American companies had to accept losing, now they no longer develop fingerprint sensors but turn to IoT.

Goodix now almost exclusively offers this sensor, there are many customers like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Meizu, Lenovo and OnePlus. Their revenue increased to $ 535 million in 2018, with $ 434 million coming from sensors. The rest comes from touch panel business, used in Amazon Kindles, Google Homes and many Bluetooth products. However, it was clear that they provided it all, why did the OnePlus 7 Pro outperform those competitors?

Optical sensor of OnePlus 7 Pro when JerryRigEverything dissects on YouTube

Goodix's R&D vice president, Carson Ye, points out. First of all, OnePlus is a priority company that speeds up everything. So they optimize the software in the direction of making the most of resources to reach the target soon. Second, it is simply their sensor model that is newer than the other competitors.

Lighting runs with sound

So the optical technology of Goodix and Qualcomm's sound waves, which one is better?

In theory, the ultrasonic sensor is more secure, because the sound waves that collide with the finger surface will bounce, drawing a 3D map of the fingerprint groove. While optical type only captures fingerprint pattern, 2D format. This is what you have been propagated very much.

David Zhang, CEO and founder of Goodix

But according to Zhang, he protested that "Optical sensors are more secure than optics". Because there is no clear evidence to show that, while the Galaxy S10 sensor has also been deceived. Or rather, if you really plan to attack your phone, even if the defense technology is ultrasound or optics, it's the same, with the bad guys. Zhang stressed that biometric security, it must have weaknesses. What many security experts have shared for a long time, regardless of the technology based on the veins of the palm, iris, fingerprint or face.

He further cited that Google also trusted Goodix's solution. They work together so that these sensors meet Google's security standards, and are used for Google Pay payments.

Test different solutions of Goodix, Qualcomm and EgisTec

In fact, how to answer?

In the actual test, reviewer Ben Sin confirmed that the OnePlus 7 Pro has a speed that surpasses the Galaxy S10. Many others also confirmed with him. And from Ben's point of view, Goodix's technology is still better, even in situations like water, grease, through a protective glass.

As of now, about 41 smartphones are using Goodix technology. In terms of cost, the effectiveness of solutions from Chinese companies is more favorable. We will also see it more commonly applied this year, next year, … Recently there have been rumors that Apple will "revive" the fingerprint sensor but is a form under the screen, maybe they also choose Goodix's solution?

Ambitious Man (According to Forbes)

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