Google Pixel 9 could get an upgrade that's been a long time coming — borrowed from Galaxy S24 Ultra

Pixel 9 leaked image
(Image credit: @OnLeaks)

Another upgrade for the Google Pixel 9 has been tipped, and it's one that's been eagerly awaited by anyone who's used a Pixel in the past few years.

As reported by Kamila Wojciechowska for Android Authority, Google's going to add an ultrasonic fingerprint reader to the new Pixels. Specifically, the same Qualcomm-built unit as found on the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Most smartphones with under-screen fingerprint scanners, including the current Pixel 8 series, use optical scanners, which read your fingerprint using a bright light and a tiny camera sensor. These work well most of the time, but can start misbehaving if the screen between it and your finger is damaged or dirty, or if the local light conditions are too bright. Ultrasonic sensors, which use sound as their name suggests, are more resilient against these problems.

Wojciechowska claims that the new sensor will be found on three Pixel 9 models, including the Pixel 9 Pro and Pixel 9 Pro XL as well as the base model. The odd one out will be the Pixel 9 Pro Fold, which will stick with a power button fingerprint sensor, common to foldable phones.

Putting a finger on the problem

The under-display optical sensor used by Google since the Pixel 6 series has had an unfortunate reputation for being buggy, taking a long time to read your finger, if it managed to read it at all. These problems have been addressed in software updates and later Pixel models, but swapping it out still sounds like a good idea, as long as Google implements everything properly first time, that is.

Made by Google on August 13 is an unusual time for Google to reveal new flagship phones, but it looks as if this is going to be where the Google Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro, Pixel 9 Pro XL and Pixel 9 Pro Fold are going to debut. We may even see a new Pixel Watch 3 or the final launch of Android 15 there too, so it'll definitely be worth tuning in.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.