Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology – a new type of fingerprint sensor said to be able to read prints through glass, metal and plastic smartphone covers – at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC).
The Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology is the latest product from the chipmaker.
Qualcomm says its ultrasonic sound wave-based solution can scan through sweat, hand lotion and condensation.
Experts say it has the potential to outclass Apple’s Touch ID.
However, they add that Qualcomm needs to provide more data before the two technologies can be properly compared.
Qualcomm said that its sensor works by using sound waves to penetrate the outer layers of the user’s finger.
The information gathered is then used to create a surface map of the person’s skin including the ridges of their fingerprints and sweat pores.
By contrast, Apple and others use capacitive sensors – which make use of the human body’s electrical properties – to take high-resolution scans of sub-epidermal skin below the outer layer of a user’s finger.
Qualcomm suggests its method is superior because it scans through both contaminants and smartphone covers.
“Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology’s unique use of ultrasonic technology revolutionizes biometrics from 2D to 3D, allowing for greater accuracy, privacy and stronger authentication,” said Raj Talluri, a Qualcomm executive.
Qualcomm is pitching its forthcoming component to manufacturers as part of a chipset package that would also include its processors.
The launch at MWC comes a day after Samsung confirmed that its latest Galaxy S6 phones would exclusively use its own Exynos chips.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors had featured in versions of Samsung’s past flagship handsets.
The US chipmaker has also suffered other setbacks recently including a $975 million fine by China’s competition regulator and news that a South Korean watchdog is also investigating whether it abused a dominant position by demanding too much money for its 3G and 4G wireless chip technologies.
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Nine million iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C have been sold in three days, according to Apple.
Apple said that sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C had beaten previous launches of new phones.
Apple said demand for the iPhone 5S had outstripped supply and Apple shares rose almost 6% on the news before falling back to trade 4% higher.
The 5S has a fingerprint sensor built into the phone’s main button. The cheaper 5C comes with a plastic back in a choice of colors.
In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5S, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly.
Apple said that sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C had beaten previous launches of new phones.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.”
Analysts said that while the sales were strong, Apple had made an effort to ensure that the opening weekend was a success.
“Apple was concerned about the public relations angle of a soft first weekend, so they took some steps to strengthen the numbers,” telecom analyst Jeff Kagan said in an email.
“Traditionally users could pre-order devices. Not this year.
“This year anyone who wanted a new iPhone must get into line. That bolstered the lines and strengthened [the] opening weekend from a PR perspective. This upset users, but made for great numbers,” he said.
In a notification to market regulators Apple said it expected sales in its fourth quarter to be at the higher end of its previous announced range of between $34 billion and $37 billion.
Apple also forecast that its gross profit margin would be near the high end of the previously provided range of 36-37%.
The new iPhone 5S has been hailed as the safest smartphone on the market with its fingerprint recognition technology.
The iPhone 5S has proved just how secure its new password service is, by registering a cat’s paw print as a key to unlock the gadget.
Technology site, TechCrunch, wanted to test the new Touch ID feature which allows the phone’s owner and four other Touch ID profiles to unlock the phone using skin-recognition technology.
After a few false starts, the cat’s paw was recognized as one of the owner’s five chosen keys and was able to access the phone’s content.
The user was also able to use the heel of his palm and his wrist in the experiment which is described as “a broadening of the definition of what counts as a <<fingerprint>>”.
Though different parts of the body were able to be registered and then recognized as keys, when trying to fool the phone’s software by using the opposite hand than registered access was denied.
The experiment pointed out however that no other animals could be used to unlock the phone as cats have unique fingerprint like paws.
Another technology site, Pocket-Lint, found Touch ID is not just a fingerprint sensor, but a toe and fingerprint sensor.
Their tests found that a print from a toe was able to unlock the phone perfectly every time.
The iPhone 5S has proved just how secure its new password service is, by registering a cat’s paw print as a key to unlock the gadget
Apple unveiled the fingerprint scanner on its iPhone 5S last week with bold claims about its high levels of encryption and security.
The firm even suggested that its Touch ID system could revolutionize smartphone security and replace the traditional, everyday password.
The Touch ID sensor is built into the premium phone’s “home” button and can be used to unlock the phone, as well as pay for shopping and apps automatically – effectively replacing the need for a password or PIN.
Speaking at the launch event in Cupertino, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said: “Half of smartphone customers do not set up passwords. [Touch ID] is an easier and more fun alternative.
“It uses key you have with you everywhere you go. Your finger.”
It works by using a small touch sensor encased around the home button that scans the layers of skin on a finger.
A user can “train” their iPhone to read and learn their unique fingerprint and when they touch the home button, the phone is unlocked.
Touch ID can also replace an App Store password when buying music, apps or books.
It uses a “laser cut sapphire crystal” to take a high-res image scan and the Touch ID software in iOS 7 determines whether the print belongs to the owner or not.
Apple said it is designed to provide “accurate readings from any angle, so the motion to unlock your device ought to be as automatic as it is now”.
It is also designed to become more accurate the more it is used.
Phil Schiller reassured users that Touch ID is secure by explaining that “all fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely inside the device’s chip” adding the prints are not stored on an Apple server, or backed up to iCloud.
Apple has unveiled iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone 5C at an event in California.
iPhone 5S introduces a fingerprint sensor built into the phone’s main button to identify the user. iPhone 5C comes with a plastic back in a choice of colors.
It marks a change of strategy for Apple which had not launched two distinct types of handset at the same time before.
The iPhone is Apple’s most important product in terms of earnings power.
The new fingerprint system can be used to unlock the 5S and provide authentication for purchases from Apple’s online marketplace.
One analyst suggested the feature would help the handset stand out against its Android rivals.
“Touch ID is actually quite an elegant solution to an ever more significant problem: namely, the theft of mobile devices and, perhaps even more critically, the information stored on those devices,” said Windsor Holden from the tech consultancy Juniper Research.
Apple has unveiled iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone 5C at an event in California
“Many people haven’t yet bothered to implement any kind of security solution on their handsets and for those who have, securing handsets with Pin authorisations can be quite a time-consuming process.”
However, Apple is not the first phone company to offer such a fingerprint reader.
Motorola added the facility to its Atrix handset in 2011, but many owners had problems using it. The feature is not included in the Google-owned business’ latest models.
It is expected the iPhone 5C will be considerably cheaper when bought through a contract, with prices starting at $99 in the U.S.
The iPhone 5S comes in three colors – slate, gold, and silver – and is made of high-grade aluminium.
The 5S’ Sim-free price ranges from $850 for a 16 gigabyte version to $1,100 for a 64GB model.
The basic 5C model, with 16 gigabytes of storage, has been priced Sim-free at $727..
“The 5C is far from being <<cheap>> as the iPhone 4S [which now costs $540] continues in that role,” remarked Ben Wood from tech advisors CCS Insight.
There had been speculation that the 4S was going to be phased out.
The new iPhones go on sale in the US, UK, China, Australia and Canada among other countries on September 20. It marks the first time China has been included in the initial wave of sales.