By and large the most exciting thing about today's smartphones is biometric security. With the iPhone X really taking face scans to a new level to just about every flagship having lightning quick fingerprint scanners, the acceleration of hardware has been bar-none the most impressive.
It also makes Synaptics newest invention, codenamed Clear ID, really really cool.
Clear ID is expected to be the same familiar fingerprint scanner, however it no longer takes up a spot on the nearly invisible bezel trend of 2018, a shift we've seen in every new phone (with a few exceptions) that is only getting more exaggerated. Exactly one year ago, Synaptics announced the FS9100 optical fingerprint sensor "family." It was less of a product line, more of a concept. Mostly because it caused the Galaxy line of Samsung phones to make a last-minute change to their off center scanners on the back of the phone, instead hidden neatly under the display.
Today’s FS9500 Clear ID, on the other hand, is going into full production with what Synaptics describes as “a top five OEM,” meaning it’s either Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Oppo / Vivo, or Xiaomi. Synaptics’ prior history of working with Samsung and the specific callout of “OLED infinity displays” in Synaptics’ press release (Samsung calls its bezel-less Galaxy S8 and Note 8 screens “infinity displays”) would suggest the two companies might once again be working on solving the seeming intractable issues of 2017.
It's a tremendous development and one that is sure to pave the way for more technologies in 2018. We all thought wireless charging was science fiction in 2010 when Qi charging was established, and while still under developed, it certainly is a strong case study in just how fast smartphone technology is advancing.
iPhones With Frickin Lasers in Their Frickin Head
Ready to talk about vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers? Terrific.
Apple has picked a recipient for their recent $1 billion US Advanced Manufacturing Fund established earlier this year. The fund "invests in U.S. companies that perform advanced manufacturing" said CEO Tim Cook, making it "the iPhone maker’s latest effort to show how it is creating U.S. jobs.
Finisar, a U.S. manufacturer of everyone's favorite vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, has received $390 million of that $1 billion fund. Currently, the lasers they produce are the ones responsible for Animoji and Face ID tech. With the money, they expect to open a manufacturing plant in Texas, making "100-percent of the lasers" they use in their phones, american made.
This is also just weeks after Apple revealed plans for a laser-based 3D sensor in 2019 iPhones, that would reportedly fire lasers out of the rear of the phone for more accurate AR and VR depth. Whether or not we see such a laser-based system available on the 2019 iPhone isn’t clear yet, but this latest investment does show that Apple is serious about continuing its work with laser-based technology for the iPhone.
Best of the Rest around the Net:
- The Essential Phone, a third-party android that seemingly drops its value faster than a bitcoin, is speculated to have only sold about 50K phones as suggested by downloads of their official camera app.
- Leagoo, the Chinese manufacturer you've never heard of, has made an $300 iPhone X copycat that runs Android. It's a neat idea, if not a total abomination for fanboys around the world.
- Powered by Linux, the Ataribox, the console nobody remembers and nobody asked for, is coming to a crowdfund near you.