Sony’s Xperia XZ and X Compact launched in the US earlier this week with an odd change for the American version that curiously omitted the fingerprint sensor that is available on the otherwise identical variants of the phones in other regions.
the fingerprint hardware has been locked behind firmware limitations
Or so Sony claimed, anyway. As it turns out, that’s not entirely true. A thread of Xperia fans on the XDA Developers forum has discovered that the US models of both phones do in fact still have the fingerprint sensor. However, the hardware has been locked behind firmware limitations, preventing the otherwise functional sensor from working. To activate the sensor, all you need to do is flash the phones with firmware from another region where Sony has decided to allow the sensor.
the fingerprint sensor was left out as "a business decision"
This isn't the first time Sony has shipped its flagship phones in the United States without fingerprint sensors. In a comment to TechRadar, Don Mesa, Sony Mobile's senior director of marketing, explained that the fingerprint sensor was left out as "a business decision we needed to make as we transitioned from the carrier market to the unlocked market," which is all the more confusing given that the phones already contain the necessary hardware. But whatever the reasoning, it's nice to know that US-based Xperia XZ and X Compact owners now at least have an unofficial option to enable the feature.