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Qualcomm announces the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 ultrasonic fingerprint reader


Around July last year when Corning announced the Gorilla Glass Victus, speculations were rife that the technology will feature on the Galaxy Note 20 first. Indeed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 was launched with the latest screen protection technology. The same scenario is about to play out with the Galaxy S21. Qualcomm has officially announced the latest version of its ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor dubbed 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2.Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2

The new technology looks to improve on the original model in several ways. It also offers a larger surface area for the sensor as well as faster processing, making it possible to deploy the sensor to unlock phones even quicker.

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According to Qualcomm, the new 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 measures 8mm x 8mm as against the 4mm x 9mm surface area of the first-generation model. This means users get up to 77 percent more surface area. On usage, the wider surface area means it’ll be easier to accurately place your finger on the sensor. It also allows the sensor to collect more data with each scan. When the larger sensor is combined with faster processing, Qualcomm promises that scanning a fingerprint to unlock a phone will go 50 percent faster with the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2.


As a reminder, Qualcomm’s first-generation ultrasonic sensor known as 3D Sonic Sensor made its debut in the Galaxy S10 flagship smartphone lineup in 2018. At the time, nearly every other in-display reader used an optical scanner, which was said to be slower and less reliable than the new ultrasonic one.

The sensor, however, encountered several issues, including a highly problematic security flaw that caused the readers to unlock phones with almost any fingerprint when used with some screen protectors. Samsung would later fix this issue through a software update.


Later in 2019, Qualcomm announced the 3D Sonic Max which happens to be just a much larger version of the first-gen sensor with a 20mm x 30mm surface area.

Qualcomm disclosed that the first phones to feature that new 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 should be available in “early 2021.” The company left out any specific release details but there are speculations that it will be on the Galaxy S21 which is expected to launch on January 14.

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