Next to the announcement of the new Snapdragon 855 mobile platform, Qualcomm also launches new in-display fingerprint technology already available to manufacturers and will be launched in commercial phones in 2019. Unlike today's harvest of fingerprint sensors, as in OnePlus 6T, Huawei Mate 20 Pro and countless others using optical scanners, this new technology uses ultrasonic waves below the display to read fingerprints. Qualcomm claims higher security and accuracy – the sacred degree of fingerprint sensors.
The new sensor technology, officially called "Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor", provides significant advantages over current optical scanning technology. Qualcomm claims that the ultrasound technician can accurately detect fingerprints through various contaminants on the fingers because it is not easy to block the way the light used for an optical sensor can be. Nor does it have to struggle to "look" between the LEDs on a screen, which should make it faster and more accurate. (And possibly it can therefore be used with LCD monitors.) To this point, Qualcomm also states that this ultrasound solution has higher levels of security and accuracy at the same time ̵
It is not clear exactly how fast we are talking here or whether this technology can approach the speed and accuracy of a modern capacitive sensor. However, as a base technology, ultrasound senses are an important development beyond the current set of optical scanners that have received mixed reviews over the past year.
As companies license this technology for use in their own phones, you are unlikely to see Qualcomm's own branding, but there is a good chance that manufacturers using this new Qualcomm technology will exploit their enhancements over the competition. The company obviously can not talk to partner's launch plans, but we know that the new sensor will be used by at least one phone in the coming year.