Goodix dominates smartphone in-display fingerprint market with fast optical scanning

The in-display fingerprint technology which is getting rave reviews for unlocking the new OnePlus 7 Pro in 0.2 seconds is supplied by Goodix, Forbes reports, which also supplies the optical in-display biometrics in the Huawei P30 Pro, Oppo Reno, Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition, and Xaiomi Mi 9.

Synaptics beat Goodix to market with its in-display technology, but Goodix’ scanner is different from Synaptics’ in that a camera lens is mounted beneath the screen, rather than a chip.

“I told Vivo that the in-display scanner tech wasn’t quite ready for mass production at the time, that it still needed some fine-tuning for another few months,” Goodix CEO David Zhang told Forbes. “But Vivo went ahead and used Synaptics solution. The result spoke for itself.”

The first implementations of in-screen fingerprint biometrics were criticized as slow and unreliable, according to Forbes. Synaptics VP of Marketing Godfrey Cheng told Biometric Update last year that the company has pivoted towards markets like automotive biometrics displays.

Now all smartphones currently being made with in-display scanners use Goodix, except for some Samsung devices, according to the report. All those sales drove Goodix revenues to 3.8 billion yuan (US$535.8 million) in 2018, 3 billion ($434.5 million) from fingerprint scanners. The Samsung Galaxy S10 uses an ultrasonic sensor from Qualcomm, and EgisTech supplies the fingerprint sensor in the Samsung Galaxy A70. Goodix was also the market leader in capacitive fingerprint sensors last year.

The OnePlus 7 Pro’s speed is partly due to software optimization, but it also uses a newer generation of scanner than the Huawei P30 Pro or the Xaiomi Mi 9.

“We have 400 engineers, constantly working on our sensors from a hardware and software perspective,” Goodix Vice President of R&D Carson Ye says. “This includes fine-tuning algorithms, improving sensor light sensitivity, and things of that nature.”

The article discusses the relative security of ultrasonic and optical sensors, and notes that Zhang, predictably, does not consider there to be any evidence that ultrasonic is more secure. He notes that no system is 100 percent secure, but also that common stories of successful hacks against smartphone biometrics always include the owner of the device as a willing participant in the attack. He also notes that its sensors meet the standards for use with Google Pay.

In testing, Forbes says Goodix optical scanners perform faster and more accurately than the ultrasonic scanner in the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Forbes counts 41 phone models using Goodix’ in-display solution, and reports that the company is working with Chinese auto manufacturers to bring its fingerprint sensors to car unlocking systems.

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