OnePlus has brought many of the most desirable features of the 2018 smartphone, but does a key feature in the OnePlus 6T point towards the next gee-whizz feature for 2019?
What unlocks the challenge for 2019? The in-display fingerprint sensor.
The Shenzhen-based company has implemented this by using a small camera under the screen. When triggered, it takes a picture of the fingerprint and uses this to recognise the user by comparing the presented finger to the biometric data stored in Qualcomm’s TrustZone.
The camera is behind the screen, but not bonded to the screen (so if repairs are needed to either the glass or the sensor, the other can remain in situ). OnePlus has tested the sensor extensively, telling me that its automated rig has simulated over 300,000 fingerprint reads – with which is the equivalent of 100 reads per day, over ten years, before any deterioration.
Of course having a working camera mounted under the glass and under the OLED screen elements, without disrupting the user experience of the screen, leads to an obvious conclusion. If you can take a picture of a finger, why can’t you take a picture of a face?
2018 saw countless Android handsets pick up a notch in the screen to mount the speakers, sensors, and cameras while increasing the screen to bezel ratio on the front of a smartphone. The OnePlus 6T has a much smaller notch that only the selfie camera uses, as the earpiece has been moved to the top edge.
If the selfie camera can go under the screen, then the designers could lose the notch and the race to be the first ‘all-screen’ smartphone in 2019 will be under way.