When we think of the leading smartphone makers, Apple and Samsung are probably the first to come to mind but the top five is usually rounded out by the likes of Xiaomi, Huawei and OPPO and we often forget is that the “Other” category, outside the top five, accounts for well over a third of the global market. And that’s where you’ll find Vivo, a company that is big in China and India. And their X21 brings an in-display fingerprint scanner to the market.
Samsung and Apple have made edge-to-edge displays an expected feature, particularly in their flagship models. But a consequence of losing the bezels has been that there’s nowhere for the fingerprint scanner. However, the technology to do this has been under development for a while. Xiaomi and Huawei have shown off the feature but Apex was going to push it big time with the Vivo X21 – at least that was the plan.
They had a big sponsorship deal set up with the US soccer team to give them lots of coverage during the FIFA World Cup but the US team’s failure to qualify for the tournament laid that plan to waste.
The scanner is invisible – it appears only when you pick the phone up so you know where to place your finger. If you skip to the 25 second market of this video, you’ll see it in action.
While the feature has been demonstrated for a while, I can see it becoming mainstream in the next major revisions of smartphones from the market leaders (at least in terms of sales). That means we can expect it in the next generation of iPhones. Whether Samsung is also preparing the feature for the Galaxy Note 9 is hard to say but I think it’s more likely we’ll see it in the Galaxy S10, which is expected to be released in March next year as part of Mobile World Congress.
Apple, on the other hand, has published lots of data saying facial recognition is more secure than fingerprint scanning so it would it would mean making something of an about-face to bring the feature back to their flagship devices.
If you’re interested, you can pick one a Vivo X21 with dual-SIM, a 6.26-inch display and 128GB of storage for less than $720.