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Google Pixel 6 could feature an under-display fingerprint scanner

If the code in the latest Android 12 developer preview is any indicator, this could be the first time that a Pixel device will ship with an under-display fingerprint scanner instead of a capacitive one. 

Google Pixel 4 review.
Google Pixel 4 review. (Google)

Google’s Pixel devices, like the Nexus line before them, are considered to be the company’s ‘reference devices’ of its vision of hardware for its Android operating system. While Google has innovated with features (like squeeze to activate and the Soli sensor for face unlock) other companies have moved ahead in areas like in-display fingerprint scanners.

While Google has so far used traditional capacitive scanners, it looks like the company finally might be bringing an in-display fingerprint scanner with its rumoured Pixel 6 device, based on the latest Android 12 Developer Preview. This will be the first time that a Pixel device will ship with an under-display fingerprint scanner.

Also read: Free, unlimited ‘High Quality’ uploads in Google Photos confirmed for Pixel 5 and older phones, Pixel 5a won't get it

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According to a report by Techradar, the latest developer preview for Google’s upcoming operating system could come with support for UDFPS, or an “Under-display fingerprint scanner”. However, the report suggests that the code in Android 12 could be specific only to the Pixels, and other manufacturers may not be able to tap into it, as XDA user kdrag0n found it was contained in a Pixel-exclusive “system UI” package.

This won’t affect third party manufacturers who have been adding in-display scanners to their phones for over three years now - ever since Vivo released the X20 Plus UD in 2018. However, having an official framework from Android itself would have been a much better option for ensuring security than relying on manufacturers to use their own home-baked implementations.

Read more: Google Pixel 6 could feature a centre punch-hole camera, 4K selfie video support

While Google never really released a successor to the Pixel 4’s advanced facial recognition system with the Pixel 5, that may have been a good decision in hindsight - thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, facial recognition-based authentication like Apple’s FaceID has been mostly killed off by mask. Apple’s upcoming iOS 14.5 will require support from the Apple Watch in order to unlock devices without typing in a PIN every time.

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