Synaptics' fingerprint sensor fits inside the volume rocker

Plus, its SentryPoint security suite can tell if it's being unlocked by a real finger.

Synaptics' latest fingerprint sensor for mobile devices measures only 3.5 mm wide. It's so thin and tiny, it can fit inside a volume rocker switch on the side of your smartphone or tablet. The company is no stranger to developing sensors for various parts of the phone, such as the one it supplied for the HTC One Max that's located on the device's back plate. You might have to wait until next year to see the tiny scanner in action, though, since it's not slated to enter mass production until the third quarter of 2016. Besides the new product, Synaptics has also upgraded its SentryPoint security suite with an anti-spoofing feature.

With the anti-spoofing algorithms, a device will be able to determine the "liveness" of your fingerprint. In other words, it will be able to tell if it's actually you who's unlocking the device, or someone else using lifted fingerprints from shiny surfaces. If you will recall, a security research lab found out that the fingerprint scanner Synaptics designed for the Samsung Galaxy S5 could be fooled by fake prints.

The company will showcase these and a few other new wrinkles at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in a few days. Attendees might be able to try out its answer to Apple's 3D Touch called ClearForce technology. Synaptics says that will bring pressure sensitive displays not only to Android phones, but also to vehicles' infotainment systems.