“Different” does not have to mean “better”, we have to see
While many have complained about the performance of the fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro over the past six months, there have been things could will be different with the upcoming Pixel 6a. A change doesn’t guarantee all issues will be resolved, but Google has confirmed that the upcoming mid-range phone, which is expected to have an in-display fingerprint sensor, won’t use the same in-display sensor as previous phones.
The news comes courtesy of a report from Android Central, which says the move has been confirmed with Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of Devices and Services. Further details were not disclosed.
The Pixel 6a
While fingerprint unlock issues on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro didn’t seem to affect everyone, many were complaining of issues, and our Android Police reviews pointed to launch issues. The best way to describe performance back then was “inconsistent” as the fingerprint sensor sometimes malfunctioned coupled with seemingly random unlock times. Some device owners claim that subsequent updates have improved performance, and Google’s changelogs confirm that the fingerprint sensor has been tweaked in the software over time. But even today, the fingerprint unlock performance on Google’s latest generation of phones can’t compete with other high-end devices.
At one point, Google claimed that its “improved security algorithms” could be responsible for the observed performance. Changing the hardware may not necessarily improve things per se.
Previous digging has suggested that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro use a Goodix optical sensor, but previous attempts to confirm this with the manufacturer itself have been blocked – agreements or other contracts may have prevented this. Other phones that used the Goodix sensors had fantastic fingerprint unlock performance (like OnePlus phones), which made the Pixel 6 series’ issues even more confusing. It’s unclear if the Pixel 6a will use a different Goodix sensor (the company makes more than one), or if a different brand or technology will be used. Sensors under the display come in more than one type.
Google also has an ongoing issue with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s fingerprint sensor failing to “calibrate” properly in certain cases after repairs. A bug report for the issue indicated that although the nature of the issue was inconsistent, the issue was still not resolved.
“Different” hardware doesn’t mean “better,” but it does open the door to improvements in fingerprint unlock performance on the Pixel 6a, which has quite a few enormously Shoes to fill as the successor to one of last year’s best products. The Pixel 5a is an excellent phone, and while the rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor had a flat lip that made it difficult to find without a case, it was consistent, fast, and reliable. Hopefully we can say the same about the Pixel 6a.
Among other Pixel 6a hardware details for you to peek at, the upcoming phone will feature a custom Tensor chipset like the Pixel 6 series, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, priced at $450.
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