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Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint authentication system in Letv Le Max Pro smartphone


At CES this week, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkompf announced that the upcoming Letv Le Max Pro smartphone will be the first phone to feature the Snapdragon 820 processor and Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology with liveness detection.

The device is expected to be available in the first half of 2016.

The company says that its ultrasonic-based fingerprint biometric solution provides a more secure, reliable alternative to capacitive-based fingerprint sensors. The solution uses security features designed to protect users’ biometric information and device data and enhances the user experience with a convenient and secure alternative to passwords, new device design options, and by consistently scanning through common fingerprint contaminants, including water and oil.

Snapdragon’s on-device design approach means that biometric data never leaves the device so it’s not vulnerable to interception or server attacks, unlike passwords.

The Snapdragon Sense ID platform uses algorithms managed by the Qualcomm SecureMSM foundation, the Qualcomm Biometric Integrated Circuit and custom sensor technology and it is integrated into the Qualcomm Haven authentication framework, which supports secure biometric authentication for a variety of online and off-line formats.

Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology supports more robust authentication than capacitive-based sensors. It is more difficult to spoof in part because the ultrasonic scan results in a highly detailed 3D map of the finger, capturing fingerprint ridges and sweat pores. And the liveness detection technology uses ultrasonic waves to help detect whether it is an actual, live finger.

Letv has placed the Snapdragon Sense ID ultrasonic sensor on the back of the device, under 400 µm of metal. Qualcomm says that using the ultrasonic sensor under metal on the back of the device for unlock/home screen functionality allows for convenient and frequent authentication.

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