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This iPhone rival's touchscreen could read your finger first

Chinese phone maker Vivo is dropping some hints that it'll be first to unveil an onscreen fingerprint sensor.

Van Boom, Daniel

The first phone to successfully integrate a fingerprint sensor in the screen may not be an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy at all. It could be a phone from Chinese brand Vivo, which isn't well known outside China. 

A Vivo Twitter post hints that the company will "unlock" "a new solution" at a trade show next week. Pair that with the image of what looks like a fingerprint going through a panel and you have a pretty strong suggestion that Vivo's phone could kick off the next phone trend. 

The tweet echoes last week's short (and very unofficial) YouTube video of a Vivo smartphone with a fingerprint sensor built into its display.

What's the big deal about embedded fingerprint sensors? As phone makers aim for bigger displays with smaller bezels (like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6) phones that have a home button or scanner beneath the screen could ditch it to save more space (think iPhone 7 in particular). Companies that can get ahead of the curve to use this software will have more options for reconfiguring the placement of the fingerprint sensor on their phones.

It was rumored that the Galaxy S8 would do this, but that wasn't the case. Now rumors say the iPhone 8 could come with the feature, but it's been reported that Apple may be having difficulty getting the tech to work in time for the iPhone launch. If Vivo's able to snag an industry first, Apple, Samsung -- two typical market leaders -- will be the ones to follow.

We'll have to stay tuned to Vivo's event in Shanghai to see if this rumored feature actually becomes a reality.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on this story.