iPhone X May Not Be the First Device with a Hidden Fingerprint Sensor

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One phone manufacturer may become the world’s first to embed a fingerprint scanner into the screen of a device. And, surprisingly, it may not be Apple.

Recent rumors coming out of China may point to Vivo being the first phone maker to release a device with a display-embedded sensor. Specifically, a report posted to Weibo by researcher Jiutang Pan claims that Vivo will release such a device within the next few months. Pan did add that Apple will likely be the first foreign company to introduce such a feature. Other than Apple, rumor has it that Samsung will embed a scanner within the display of its upcoming Galaxy Note 8 — although Pan doesn’t believe that its tech will be ready in time. Samsung, of course, tried and failed to embed a sensor into the display of its Galaxy S8 flagship.

In addition to being a reputable tech researcher, Pan also backed up his claim with a video reportedly depicting a prototype Vivo phone being unlocked by placing a finger onto the device’s screen. Vivo doesn’t command the same type of attention as Apple or Samsung, but it is the fifth-largest smartphone manufacturer worldwide, according to IDC statistics — a position it’s attained mainly by expanding market growth in its home country of China. There’s currently no word on what Vivo’s phone will be called, how much it will be, or when it will ultimately drop.

Apple, of course, has largely been rumored to be considering a similar display-embedded Touch ID fingerprint scanner for its upcoming flagship iPhone. While there have been a handful of reports and rumors pointing to a rear-mounted Touch ID sensor due to design bottlenecks and other production issues, there’s an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that Apple will ultimately adopt a display-embedded solution. This year’s flagship iPhone X is expected to debut in the fall — and with that release timeline, as Pan suggests, Apple could become the first non-Chinese company to adopt the design.

No matter who ultimately wins the display-embedded sensor race, it’s looking increasingly likely that the days of analog fingerprint scanners are numbered. Other than Samsung, Apple and Vivo, another recent report out of Korea suggests that other Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi are also looking into similar designs for their upcoming smartphones.

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