Fingerprint Sensors Are (Back) In: Synaptics Acquires Validity Sensors While Eying Your Next Notebook

Are you browsing this very article using a notebook? If so, the trackpad you're probably scrolling with most likely has Synaptics attached in some way. The company responsible for millions upon millions of laptop trackpads has just acquired a human interface solutions company by the name of Validity Sensors. The reason? Because fingerprint sensors are suddenly popular. Years ago, nearly every enterprise notebook shipped with a fingerprint sensor, but the software controlling them was often cludgy, which led to a quick demise.

Now that Apple has ushered the Touch ID sensor in with the iPhone 5s, it's clear that software has finally caught up, and that fingerprint + biometric security features may finally be ready for mainstream consumption. Here's a bit directly from the horse's mouth: "With the acquisition of Validity, Synaptics expects to gain access to the fast growing biometrics market, significantly expanding its market opportunity and underscoring the company’s commitment to making smart devices easier to use. Synaptics believes the acquisition of Validity positions the company at the forefront of this exponential growth opportunity and allows the company to strengthen its portfolio of touch-based technologies with the diversification into fingerprint-sensing capabilities."

It's possible that future Android and Windows Phone products could also benefit from this, but we're guessing laptops and tablets will benefit first. We can only hope that the APIs are open enough for third-party programs to use your fingerprint to login, not just act as an easier version of slide-to-unlock.