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Synaptics moves into biometrics with purchase of Validity Sensors

Human interface firm Synaptics has expanded into the ever growing biometric ID market with the purchase of Validity Sensors, a developer of fingerprint authentication solutions for smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Biometric technology has exploded this year, and with the inclusion of Touch ID in the iPhone 5S, is set to get increasingly popular.

Despite a number of security concerns, the technology is geared up to have a range of functionality, including authorising payments, with the first of such services being launched on an Android based smartphone by South Korean firm Danal earlier this month.

"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 said in a statement.

Back in July, Validity announced that its fingerprint sensor will be used by Microsoft in products running Windows 8.1.

The deal is worth up to $255 million (£160 million) in cash and stock over a period of time depending on performance, with an upfront payment of $92.5 million (£58 million).

"Biometrics has long been of interest to Synaptics as it complements our existing touch-based solutions and offers an exciting new way to interact with devices," said Rick Bergman, President and CEO of Synaptics. "We are thrilled to be adding the world class Validity team to the Synaptics family."

"Synaptics' acquisition of Validity puts our vision of having Natural ID on every mobile computing device on the fast track," added Validity CEO Rob Baxter.

"The opportunity for our people, our shareholders and our technology, along with Synaptics' commitment to owning the human interface, made this partnership a natural fit. The acquisition adds Validity's world-class biometrics engineering team to a Synaptics team known for in-depth, system level engineering expertise."