Damien McFerran 12/09/2018 - 7:37am

"Unlock the speed"

OnePlus traditionally releases two handsets a year, with the first being the 'main' model and the 'T' variant being improved in meaningful ways.

Last year, the company entered the big-screen market with the OnePlus 5T, and this year it will be releasing a mid-cycle device which packs a similarly-impressive headline feature.

The company has confirmed to CNET that the OnePlus 6T – the upgrade of the already excellent OnePlus 6 – will be the first phone it has released to ship with an in-screen fingerprint scanner. Dubbed "Screen Unlock", this new system places the scanner under the OLED display and will augment the already-impressive Face Unlock feature OnePlus introduced on the OnePlus 5T.

According to CNET, the phone's thickness has increased by .45mm when compared to the standard OnePlus 6 in order to include the necessary technology.

"We unlock our phones multiple times a day," the company told CNET. "Screen Unlock reduces the number of steps to complete the action.

By adding this feature as an addition to other display unlocking options such as Face Unlock, users will have options to unlock the display in a way that is most efficient for them." OnePlus apparently wanted to include this feature in last year's OnePlus 5T, but the tech wasn't "mature" enough to provide a satisfactory experience. In-screen scanners are slower than traditional ones, so it's likely that OnePlus was simply waiting for it to reach a point where it would be good enough.

First fingerprint scanner in the west?

Rumours that the OnePlus 6T would include such a scanner were floating around last week when photos of the phone's packaging leaked online; the image clearly showed a fingerprint icon on the screen itself, as well as the reduced 'notch' at the top of the display.

In fact, the image is a close match to the Oppo F9, which makes sense as Oppo and OnePlus enjoy a close relationship. "Unlock the speed" is apparently the marketing slogan for this new handset.

OnePlus has a history of getting behind new technologies early, and with this latest announcement, it is stealing a march on rivals such as Samsung, which is rumoured to be incorporating an in-display fingerprint scanner into its next Galaxy S phone.

While phones with this tech already exist, they're limited to the Far East at present, so OnePlus could end up being the first major handset maker to offer an in-screen scanner in the west.

Despite Apple's shift towards an unlock system which relies entirely on your face with the iPhone X, it would seem that the humble fingerprint scanner isn't going away – it's just moving onto your screen.

Given that the OnePlus 6T will also include face unlocking capabilities, the Chinese company will have something to boast about when comparing its device to those made by Apple, Samsung and LG.

We still don't know exactly when the OnePlus 6T will be launched, but a leaked screenshot with "October 17" on it has led some to speculate that it could be the potential release date.