Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors Unveiled at MWC Shanghai 2017, Including Under Display Offering

At Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017, Qualcomm announced its new generation fingerprint sensors based on ultrasonic fingerprint technology, an upgrade over its Sense ID fingerprint technology. The sensors even unlock devices underwater, and work through displays. This last is especially pertinent in 2017, which both Samsung and Apple expected to release smartphones with fingerprint sensors embedded in their displays. Separately, the company also announced that its automotive platforms will be integrated in the infotainment system used inside upcoming vehicles manufactured by Chinese carmaker Geely.

First talking about the fingerprint scanning and authentication technology, Qualcomm says “The suite of features consists of sensors for Display, Glass and Metal, detection of directional gestures, and underwater fingerprint match and device wake-up.”

Notably, this new generation of technology is the first commercially announced “integrated ultrasonic-based mobile solution” that can detect heart beat and blood flow for improved authentication, as per Qualcomm’s claims.

Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display is capable of scanning through OLED display stacks of up to 1200 microns (micrometres), along with enrolling and matching, and Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal can scan through up to 800 microns of cover glass and up to 650 microns of aluminium, the company said in its release. Comparatively, the previous generation was able to scan through up to 400 microns for both glass and metal.

“Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal are designed to be compatible with the recently announced Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms, and Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Display, Glass and Metal are designed to be compatible with future Snapdragon Mobile Platforms and non-Snapdragon platforms,” the company said.
Qualcomm says that in comparison to the previous generation, the new fingerprint solutions offer greater design flexibility to operators and OEMs. The Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for glass and metal are said to be available to OEMs this month, and will expectedly arrive with commercial devices in the first half of next year. On the other hand, Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display is expected to be available for OEMs in the fourth quarter of this year.

Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors Unveiled at MWC Shanghai 2017, Including Under Display Offering

The company has said that it will be showcasing the new sensors for display and metal along with Vivo through a modified version of Vivo XPlay 6 smartphone at MWC Shanghai 2017.

Moving on to the second part of the story, Qualcomm has announced that Chinese carmaker Geely will be using the automotive platforms developed by the former for the infotainment systems in its upcoming vehicles. These infotainment systems come with integrated 4G LTE modem and use the Snapdragon 820Am automotive platform. Geely vehicles that will feature Snapdragon automotive platforms are expected to be available from 2020.

Select Geely models also be making use of the Snapdragon 820Am variant of the platform with an integrated X12 LTE modem, supporting up to 600 Mbps downlink and 150 Mbps uplink speeds, the company said in its release. This solution has been designed specifically to provide “exceptional in-car cloud connectivity to support key features, such as over-the-air updates, navigation with real-time updates, news and local information, emergency assistance and diagnostics,” Qualcomm said.

 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC for Mid-Range Devices, Snapdragon Wear 1200 Platform Launched

At MWC Shanghai 2017, Qualcomm announced a host of new offerings, the most notable being the Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform meant for mid-range smartphones and tablets. The chip brings upgrades over the Snapdragon 435 SoC in terms of battery life, imaging, and gaming performance as well. Alongside, the company also announced the new Snapdragon Wear 1200 platform and even highlighted the new Xiaotiancai Z3 kid smartwatch based on Snapdragon Wear 2100.

Snapdragon 450
Starting with the new Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform, the SoC sports an octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU chips built on the 14nm FinFET process that results in 25 percent increase in compute performance compared to its predecessor Snapdragon 435. Additionally, the integrated Adreno 506 GPU delivers a 25 percent increase in graphics performance over the Snapdragon 435. The Snapdragon 450 is claimed to offer up to 4 hours more battery life than its predecessor as well as up to a 30 percent reduction in power consumption when gaming. It supports LTE Cat. 6 connectivity with its Snapdragon X9 LTE modem, up to full-HD+ (1440×2160 pixels) resolution, USB 3.0, and Quick Charge 3.0 (zero to 80 percent in about 35 minutes) as well. It also comes with support for a large number of mobile networks with Snapdragon All Mode, and 802.11ac with MU-MIMO support.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC for Mid-Range Devices, Snapdragon Wear 1200 Platform Launched

Qualcomm also notes that this is the first chip in the Snapdragon 400 Mobile Platform tier to support real-time Bokeh. This means that portrait mode could arrive on mid-range smartphones as well, and real-time Bokeh will allow you to just see exactly how your photo looks before taking the picture. It is also designed to support for enhanced dual camera at two 13-megapixel sensors, or single camera support up to 21-megapixel; hybrid autofocus; and 1080p video capture and playback at up to 60fps, enabling slow motion capture. The Snapdragon 450 also includes support for Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, which is claimed to enable multimedia, camera, and sensor processing at greater performance and lower power than the previous generation.

Expect companies like Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo to take advantage of the Snapdragon 450 and launch mid-range smartphones packed with features. The Snapdragon 450 is expected to begin commercial sampling to customers in the third quarter, and is expected to be available in consumer devices by the end of 2017.

Snapdragon Wear 1200 Platform
A new wearable chipset – Snapdragon Wear 1200 – was also launched at MWC Shanghai. Successor to the Snapdragon Wear 1100, the chip is meant for Internet-connected wearables, fitness bands, as well as tracker bands for kids, pets, and elders. The size of the chip is 45 percent smaller (79mm) than the predecessor and it supports LTE Cat. M1/NB1 connectivity that allows low-power wearables to enable 4G without using too much battery power. Location features include support for GPS, GLONASS, Gallileo and BeiDou constellations, low power geo-fencing, and Qualcomm Technologies’ cloud based location services with comprehensive global terrestrial positioning using Wi-Fi and cellular service.

The Snapdragon Wear 1200 also features an integrated applications processor for Linux and ThreadX based applications and is scalable to support voice over LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It comes with Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment, a hardware cryptographic engine, hardware random number generator and TrustZone for privacy and security. The Snapdragon Wear 1200 is shipping today, and devices with this chip will arrive in the market in the last two quarters.

Xiaotiancai Z3 kid smartwatch based on Snapdragon Wear 2100
Qualcomm also announced the Xiaotiancai Z3 smartwatch for children running on Snapdragon Wear 2100. One of its key features is that it is swimming-level waterproof, supports 4G multi-mode with bi-directional calling and delivers reliable indoor and outdoor positioning through a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS and 4G location triangulation techniques. The Z3 is based on Android, and is designed to seamlessly communicate with parents’ phones for constant know-how of kids’ whereabouts. The Xiaotiancai Z3 is expected to be available in China in July.

 

Qualcomm Antitrust Lawsuit to Proceed, US Judge Rules

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm can proceed, a federal judge ruled late on Monday, meaning the iPhone chip supplier must now wage a fight with US regulators even as it contests a separate $1 billion lawsuit filed by Apple.

US District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California in San Jose denied Qualcomm’s motion to dismiss the FTC’s lawsuit, saying the agency’s allegations would amount to anticompetitive behaviour on Qualcomm’s part if proved true.

In response, Qualcomm said the case is still in its early stages. “FTC will have the burden to prove its claims, which we continue to believe are without merit,” Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The FTC sued Qualcomm in January, alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly on the chips that let cell phones connect to mobile data networks.]

The FTC highlighted Qualcomm’s “no licence, no chips” policy under which the San Diego company refuses to sell chips unless customers also sign a patent licence agreement and pay Qualcomm fees. Qualcomm refused to grant licenses to its rivals in order to keep a monopoly, the FTC alleged.

Qualcomm asked Koh to throw out the case, arguing that even if all the FTC’s allegations were true, they would not amount to wrongdoing.

Qualcomm, the largest independent maker of chips used in smartphones, is a major supplier to Apple and Samsung Electronics for modem chips that connect phones to wireless networks.

Qualcomm Antitrust Lawsuit to Proceed, US Judge Rules
Intel and Samsung, which are not parties to the case, filed briefs opposing Qualcomm’s attempt to the have the case dismissed.

Koh rejected Qualcomm’s arguments, ruling that the FTC had “adequately alleged” anticompetitive behaviour.

“We look forward to further proceedings in which we will be able to develop a more accurate factual record,” Qualcomm’s Rosenberg said in the statement.

Separately, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion in January. Last week, Apple argued Qualcomm’s chip licenses are invalid under a ruling last month from the US Supreme Court. Apple’s contract manufacturers such as Foxconn stopped paying Qualcomm as that case proceeds, which in turn prompted Qualcomm to sue the contract manufacturers.

In addition to the complaint from the FTC, Qualcomm has faced a series of antitrust rulings and investigations from regulators across the globe, including China and South Korea.

The FTC’s case is No. 5:17-cv-00220 in the Northern District of California.

Only Samsung can use Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor until April 2016: Report

Not only will Samsung’s next flagship phone — Galaxy S7 — come with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest processor — Snapdragon 820 — but the South Korean giant will also hold exclusivity of the chipset at least until April 2016, suggests a new report coming in from China . This means, no other smartphone manufacturing company can use the Snapdragon 820 in any of their phones at least for the first four months of 2016. The most notable company would be Xiaomi, which has been long rumoured to include Qualcomm’s 2016 flagship processor in its Mi5 smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi5 may ship with MediaTek’s Helio X20 if the rumours turn out to be true.

According to reports, Samsung has been entrusted with manufacturing the Snapdragon 820 using its 14 nm FinFET process. Samsung’s key job would be to keep the soon-to-be-launched processor cooler and making sure it did not overheat like its predecessor, the ill-fated Snapdragon 810. Samsung will apparently have the exclusivity of using the Snapdragon 820 in exchange for all of this, says the report.

This would make the Galaxy S7 the first phone to ship with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 upon launch. Earlier, the WSJ reported that Samsung will launch the Galaxy S7 as early as March 2016. This coincides with Samsung’s usual release cycle for its Galaxy S series phones. Moreover, the Galaxy S7 is reported to copy one of the headline features of Apple’s new iPhones, aka, 3D Touch. It is said to include a USB Type-C port for lightning quick charging. Meanwhile reports that it would include some sort of iris scanner are also doing the rounds.