Qualcomm has reportedly won orders from Samsung for its upcoming next-gen ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors. What this means is that Qualcomm might become the exclusive partner for placing in-display fingerprint sensors that Samsung plans to introduce on its mid-range and premium Galaxy smartphone models next year. Apart from Qualcomm, MediaTek's China-based subsidiary Goodix Technology is also said to be one of only two prominent suppliers for in-display fingerprint scanners for Android smartphones in 2019, though it uses the optical type. The report suggests this move will force other Taiwanese chip manufacturers to focus on other niche applications.
The increasing demand for all-screen smartphones across the globe has prompted the demand for in-display fingerprint sensors. This demand has led to Chinese and Taiwanese IC (Integrated Circuit) design houses including Egis Technology, Elan Microelectronics, FocalTech, Goodix, and Silead accelerating work on these sensors, as per a report by Taiwanese publication Digitimes.
MediaTek's Goodix subsidiary has also reportedly secured a “pre-emptive presence” in this sector with optical in-display fingerprint sensor orders from Chinese giants such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei, and Vivo. Shipments for these handsets will begin soon, in the first half of 2019.
Additionally, Samsung's order with Qualcomm remains the highlight of this development given the volume of production by the South Korean giant widely regarded as the vendor with the most smartphone shipments. Samsung might soon feature in-display fingerprint sensors in its Galaxy S and Galaxy A series with shipments expected to start from late 2018 or early 2019.
To complete this large order, Qualcomm is reportedly planning to incorporate all resources of its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor technology lab in California and work with Taiwan's TFT panel makers to help its clients lower production costs with a one-stop solution.
Taiwanese chip makers are expected to suffer from these partnerships, and they might look to develop “niche-type” fingerprint identification chips for products like financial cards, and other industrial, home, and automotive applications.
In related news, a report earlier this month claimed that Qualcomm's third-gen in-display fingerprint sensing technology will be exclusive to Samsung's upcoming flagship, Galaxy S10, at least for the first half of 2019, after which other OEMs will be able to incorporate them on their devices as well.