Synaptics’ new ultra small USB fingerprint solution: Q&A with Godfrey Cheng

June 1, 2016 - 

Synaptics Incorporated has unveiled its new ultra-small form factor USB module that enables Natural ID secure fingerprint authentication on any notebook PC.

Designed for OEMs, ODMs and private labels, the portable turnkey solution enables them to provide their customers with a seamless and inexpensive fingerprint alternative for PCs that don’t have an integrated biometric sensors.

Once users complete a simple enrollment process, they will be able to securely authenticate themselves with a touch of a finger, enabling rapid PC access and the full use of Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport.

As with all Synaptics Natural ID solutions, the USB dongle is FIDO Certified (Fast IDentity Online) to ensure compliance with an industry-wide ecosystem of products.

Synaptics’ USB dongle will sample in the third quarter with mass production expected in the fourth quarter.

BiometricUpdate.com had the opportunity to discuss Synaptics’ new Natural ID USB fingerprint solution, its many features, and how it differentiates itself from other fingerprint ID solutions on the market, with Synaptics VP of Marketing, Godfrey Cheng.

How is Synaptics’ new Natural ID USB dongle different than other fingerprint solutions on the market

Godfrey Cheng: This product was designed from the ground up to support Windows Hello and to be compliant with FIDO based payment schemes. Also, the turnkey solution is based on our widely-used area touch sensor, our matcher, and anti-spoof technologies. Unlike older generation products, we have a full suite of proprietary and unique security features that we call SentryPoint. Finally, we want to make it accessible by ensuring our partners can sell this product at very affordable prices.

What driving factors contributed to Synaptics’ decision to develop this solution?

Passwords are not safe. While no system is 100% infallible, we want to bring the benefit of biometric convenience without compromising security. For the 500 million Windows 10 PCs that will exist this year, we are delivering a technology that allows them to easily log into their PCs in under a quarter of a second and be much more secure than any password. Stolen or hacked passwords have heightened concerns, but with biometrics, the bad guys would need to steal your fingerprint, and the device hosting the fingerprint sensor.

Who is the intended user base for this solution?

In the age of internet and social media, our intended user is anybody who feels that passwords are not good enough. We believe this to be 100% of all Windows 10 users. You don’t need to remember 25 passwords for 50 different sites, you just need to touch our sensor and you will securely log into your computer, applications, and various web services. We are currently working on payment technologies to make online payments and banking much more secure than it is today.

What is the expected pricing for the solution?

We are not directly selling this turnkey product to consumers. Our partners will set the pricing. That being said, we will enable our partners to bring a product to market for well under $50; it depends on security feature options and other configurations.​

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.