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Bezel-free smartphones on horizon: CrucialTec CEO

Smartphones with fingerprint-scanning displays to be introduced as early as this year

Charles Ahn, CEO of CrucialTec. (The Korea Herald file photo)
Charles Ahn, CEO of CrucialTec. (The Korea Herald file photo)
The CEO of fingerprint sensor and touch panel manufacturer CrucialTec said his company would soon commercialize a new touch screen panel embedded with fingerprint sensors, which will present a new paradigm for the smartphone touch panel market.

“The new touch screen panel, known as a matrix-switching touch screen panel, will bring dramatic change to the market,” Charles Ahn, chief executive of the tech firm told The Korea Herald.

He predicted that smartphones featuring the panel would come out as early as the first half of this year.

The touch screen also will usher in an era of bezel-free phones, Ahn said.

CrucialTec, a steady supplier for local and global smartphone manufacturers, was recently catapulted into the media spotlight after it reportedly agreed a deal to supply fingerprint sensors to Samsung Electronics for the latest flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone.

CrucialTec, however, denied the news reports on the supply deal.

Samsung had earlier announced that it would produce fingerprint sensors on its own, but it has since suffered from a low production yield with its biometric scanners.

Ahn said that his company’s technology that combines a fingerprint sensor with a touch panel was more than a year ahead of other competitors.

Only two companies, CrucialTec and Synaptics, own core technology required for the development of such panels, he said.

Since the MS-TSP needs only a single layer, fewer than the four in most smartphone display panels, side bezels, which are unused spaces on the sides of displays, can be dramatically reduced and will eventually enable smartphones to be bezel-free.

Smartphone users can tap and swipe the new screens while wearing gloves, thanks to improved screen sensitivity.

Ahn warned against those who may attempt to infringe on its touch panel and fingerprint technology patents, saying CrucialTec was prepared to respond aggressively.

“We have been beefing up our legal team to take action against any attempt to steal our technologies,” the CEO said.

The company said it would also constantly put the focus on the fingerprint recognition technology as well as the MS-TSP.

At the Mobile World Congress 2014, the company showcased an area-type fingerprint sensor coated with ceramic materials, adding a sleek texture and durability to the sensor while reducing production costs to around a seventh of the sapphire-coated product used in the iPhone 5S.

An area-type fingerprint sensor sporting health tracking functions such as a heart rate monitoring sensor is also expected to be developed, according to the company.

He said most global smartphone makers would seek to adopt biometric technology, a trend started by top handset manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung with their iPhone 5S and Galaxy S5, respectively.

“With the world’s most advanced packaging technology for fingerprint sensor modules, CrucialTec will definitely take the lead in the global biometric authentication market,” Ahn said.

By Kim Young-won (
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Korea Herald daum