Apple, Galaxy, Samsung and other mobile phone manufacturers have been promoting new all-glass versions of their products that are currently in development. One of the challenges they face is getting rid of the home button, which takes up valuable real estate on the front face of the phone.
New under-glass scanners may be the key to saying goodbye to the button. Instead of going for the home button, the phones may include an under-glass scanner than provides touch-based control of the phone. Synaptics announced an in-glass scanner earlier this year, that was designed to work with a glass surface at least .3 mm thick.
At that thickness, the device will work only with the scanner in a fixed location on the screen. Essentially, that limitation requires the scanner to be an analog for the home button. The button is gone, but the user must still return to the scanner’s fixed location to authenticate and issue secure controls.
Synaptic announced earlier this month a new evolution of the under-glass scanner. The latest version works with a glass thickness of .1mm, and that’s thin enough to be used in mobile phones and other hand-held devices. It’s also thin enough to enable the under-glass scanner to be incorporated into the lighted display area of the phone.
Future designs will eventually be able to authenticate the user from anywhere on the surface of the screen, creating the much-desired but not-yet-available edge-to-edge phone. The under-glass scanner that recognizes and authenticates the user from anywhere is still a few design generations away, but it’s definitely closer to the store shelves than it was earlier this year.
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Photo Credit: Jose Luis Agapito, via Flickr.com