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Google to introduce ultrasonic fingerprint reader in Pixel 9 series

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Google will introduce a Qualcomm 3D Sonic Gen 2 ultrasonic fingerprint scanner in the upcoming Pixel 9 series, scheduled to launch on August 13, 2024. This feature differs from the optical scanners used in previous generations of Pixel smartphones.

First reported by Android Authority, before the new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, Google relied on traditional rear-mounted sensors, which are generally well-received for their reliability and speed. However, the transition to under-display optical scanners, sourced from Goodix, was fraught with problems.

Users reported slow unlock speeds and unreliable performance, which persisted despite subsequent OTA updates and newer Pixel models.

The root of these issues stems from the inherent limitations of optical scanners introduced in Pixel 6 devices. These scanners are slower, less accurate, and more sensitive to moisture and dirt than their newer counterparts. Additionally, they require bright light to scan fingerprints, which can be problematic in low-light environments.

In contrast, ultrasonic scanners offer superior performance. They are faster, more accurate, and unaffected by external conditions.

For the Pixel 9 series, Google has opted for Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Gen 2 (QFS4008) ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, the same model used in Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra. Samsung’s use of ultrasonic scanners has been well-regarded, with many praising their speed and reliability.

It’s worth noting that the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner will be included in all variants of the Pixel 9, except the Fold model, which will retain its fingerprint scanner in the power button. This exception aside, the new scanner is expected to bring a uniformly improved experience across the Pixel 9 lineup.

While fingerprint scanners’ overall performance depends on various factors beyond the hardware, the shift to an ultrasonic sensor is a definitive upgrade. Users can look forward to faster, more reliable unlocks without the issues that plagued optical scanners.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: