Google has confirmed that it will be placing an in-display fingerprint sensor in its upcoming Pixel 6a smartphone. The Pixel 6a will be Google’s first mid-range handset with an in-display sensor, breaking from prior models that used a rear-mounted capacitive sensor for authentication.
Of course, in-display fingerprint sensors have become increasingly common in smartphones in the past few years. What makes the Google announcement slightly more interesting is that the tech giant also confirmed that it is making a component switch, and that the fingerprint sensor that appears in the Pixel 6a will not be the same as the in-display sensor that is featured in its flagship Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices. The fingerprint authentication system in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro has faced significant criticism since the two devices were released in late 2021, with many users complaining about the accuracy and reliability of the sensors.
Google tried to address those issues with a software update in November, although concerns about performance have persisted. Most notably, some owners have reported that their fingerprint sensors were fully disabled after they took their phones in for a screen repair. The technicians conducting those repairs attributed the issue to a communication problem with the calibration tool that they are supposed to use to reset the sensor.
It’s unclear if Google’s decision for the Pixel 6a was made in response to those issues, or if it is a cost-saving measure or the result of some other consideration. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro contain a Goodix fingerprint reader, though Google did not indicate whether it is switching to another Goodix model, or to a sensor from another manufacturer with the Pixel 6a.
The newer Pixel 6a handset will officially hit store shelves on July 28, with pre-orders starting one week earlier on July 21. Recent rumors have suggested that Google could add a Face Unlock utility to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with a future software update.