LG shows off a smartphone display panel with integrated fingerprint reader

Future smartphones may no longer need a dedicated button for unlocking the device or performing other actions with a fingerprint.

Fingerprint readers are practically a must-have feature now. LG Innotek, which is the components subsidiary of parent company LG, is showing off a new capability that might make unlocking your device in the future even easier.

The company shared some details about an under-glass fingerprint sensor module, which would allow you to place your finger on the smartphone’s glass for identification. This would eliminate the need for a button, which you’ll find on the bottom in Samsung’s Galaxy S7, and on the back of phones like the LG G5 and Nexus 6P.

LG says it cuts a tiny groove into the underside of the glass for installation of the fingerprint reader. It’s an intriguing concept, but it doesn't mean you'll be able to touch any part of your device to authenticate with your fingerprint. There's still a fingerprint reader module at a particular location (in the bezel, not where the display is), it's just underneath the big sheet of glass that covers your device. Sort of like capacitive buttons.

The story behind the story: LG isn’t the first to march into this territory. Apple filed a patent for a similar technology, and Qualcomm and Synaptics announced this type of component last year. An LG spokesperson told The Korean Times the company is in talks with handset manufacturers to bring this to market within the year. You’d think the parent company LG would be an ideal place to start.

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Derek Walter

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