Touch ID vs Sense ID : Here’s the Real Difference

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Touch ID vs Sense ID : Here’s the Real Difference

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Along with customization, security is another area drawing the attention of software developers. Apple was the first to introduce the breakthrough Touch ID technology that took over manual methods of entering text and numeric combinations to unlock the screen. And following the Cupertino-based giant, Qualcomm brought forward its revolutionary Sense ID at the Mobile World Congress that’s much more secure and authentic than the Touch ID. Let’s find out what separates the two modern day technologies.

The Touch ID is the simplest way to wake up your lock screen. Just put your finger on the physical button and device will recognise the provided input and let you access the phone. Once the user puts his/her finger on the Home button, the stainless steel ring on the button comes into action and activates the capacitive touch sensor. The finger impression gets imprinted on the button’s sapphire crystal surface, which is sent to the sensor lying beneath. The software then reads the input and unlocks the device for you. The mechanism seems complex, but the whole process takes a fraction of a second.

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The Touch ID is capable of reading impressions with a 360-degree orientation. Users can place their finger the way they want and it will still work. One can enrol multiple fingerprints on a device. Its usage is not just limited to unlocking the screen and you can also make purchases on iTunes and the Apple App Store by making mobile payments through your fingerprint. It can also be infused into third-party apps through developers’ support.

On the other hand, Sense ID is one step ahead of Touch ID. It’s the mobile industry’s first biometric platform based on ultrasonic technology. Instead of just analysing the ridges of your fingers, it makes a 3D map of the minute details including ridge flow and sweat pores. The sound waves penetrate the outer layer of the skin and create a matchless password that is hard to reproduce. According to Qualcomm, the technology “incorporates a Qualcomm biometric integrated circuit (QBIC), custom sensor technology and algorithms managed by the company’s hardware-based SecureMSM technology.”

Here’s the video showing how Sense ID works:

It can work with moist fingers and with other contaminants like dust and dirt. Its ability to scan doesn’t get blocked by the display type and allows fingerprint detection through glass, plastic, steel, aluminium and sapphire. Snapdragon Sense ID permits manufacturers to experiment with designs, enabling them to develop sleeker smartphones in the future.

Along with the added benefits of scanning through multiple surfaces and damp fingers, Sense ID embraces features from FIDO (Fast IDentity Online). It is an Alliance biometric protocol that keeps the fingerprint data on the device, instead of securing it on cloud; allowing people to visit websites, more securely. Online accounts and apps can also be accessed without the need of repeatedly providing a password for authentication.

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Fingerprints are unique and make matchless passwords. Their unique characteristics compel smartphone manufacturers to deploy the newest innovations. Qualcomm will install the technology to its Snapdragon processors and soon, fingerprints will replace the traditional character-based passwords, giving faster access to a plethora of features. Since Qualcomm penetration in the Android market is high, more smartphones will have this standout feature on board.

Till date, Apple’s recent handsets, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have Touch ID, and Samsung implanted its own fingerprint technology on Samsung Galaxy S6. It is learnt that Microsoft and Google have also tied up with FIDO Alliance, which means future Android and Windows devices may pack identical authentication features. Fingerprint scanning is a doorway to enormous features for which we presently need passwords. Akin to Touch ID, if Sense ID also offers third-party app integration, regular apps like Gmail, Yahoo and others will work through your fingerprint. It would be nice to see how Apple revises its technology to compete with Qualcomm’s Sense ID 3D fingerprint technology.

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Meenakshi Rawat
iGyaan's newbie Meenakshi handles content at iGyaan. She is an ultimate foodie, loves travelling and likes to read.