Last week a video began making the rounds online that purported to show a Vivo smartphone being unlocked using a fingerprint sensor integrated into the display. Doubts were soon cast on the video's authenticity, however yesterday the company shared an official teaser image on Twitter appearing to hint at an imminent fingerprint sensor reveal at MWC2017 Shanghai, which starts on June 28.
The teaser image shows the outline of what appears to be a human digit complete with fingerprint passing through a smartphone-like profile, accompanied by the phrase "Unlock the Future", apparently implying a fingerprint-based unlocking mechanism embedded in the display of an upcoming Vivo phone.
As regular MacRumors readers will know, Apple is expected to include a fingerprint-sensing display in this year's "iPhone 8", which is due in September, but the company was said to have faced significant technological hurdles before it reportedly finalized a practical solution last month.
Samsung, for its own part, chose to forego the opportunity to announce the first phone with a screen-embedded fingerprint sensor when it launched the Galaxy S8 in March, with the sensor instead relocated to the back of the handset, alongside the camera lens. The controversial decision to move the sensor to the rear to make way for a larger display was made because the company could not meet the challenges involved in embedding the sensor tech in an OLED screen in time for the S8 launch.
The idea that Vivo could be the first to bring fingerprint sensing screens to consumer phones might seem like a stretch, but the company has been willing to take risks in the past and actually has a decent track record for market firsts. In 2013, for example, it released the world's first "2K" resolution phone – the Xplay3s – featuring a 2560 × 1440 resolution and 490ppi pixel density screen. With the release of the Xplay5, the company also became the first mobile maker to release a smartphone with 6GB of RAM.
Regardless, announcing the first fingerprint-aware display is a different prospect altogether and would be some feat for Vivo, which holds a 6.8 percent market share in worldwide smartphone sales, behind Chinese rivals Huawei and Oppo. By contrast, Apple and Samsung command a 13.7 percent and 20.7 percent market share, respectively, according to first quarter 2017 figures from Gartner.
Stay tuned to MacRumors for updates and other related news from the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Shanghai, which begins on Wednesday, June 28.
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