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Biometric blues: Samsung and Apple run into fingerprint scanner manufacturing issues

Apple and Samsung have been experiencing difficulty manufacturing fingerprint scanners on a mass scale.
July 24, 2013
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Remember rumors, stemming mostly from recent patent filings and the purchase of biometric company AuthenTec, of an iPhone with built-in fingerprint recognition? Samsung, too, seemed poised to include a fingerprint reader in the company’s next Galaxy phone. Well, it turns out there’s a reason those rumblings haven’t quite panned out yet: both companies have been experiencing difficulty manufacturing fingerprint scanners.

Reportedly, both Apple and Samsung have been thus far unable to achieve acceptable yield; the companies can’t produce the number of biometric chips they need to satisfy anticipated demand. According to a report from Korea-based news outlet ETNews, Samsung “decided to drop the fingerprint recognition function at the final development stage of Galaxy Note 3” because of low sensor supply. The report further claims that Apple may go so far as to delay the iPhone 5S launch because of issues with fingerprint recognition components.

The primary cause of the supply issue seems to be the scale at which Apple and Samsung plan to produce the sensor for incorporation into future products. Though fingerprint scanners aren’t exactly a rarity – they’ve been a staple of enterprise laptops for over a decade, and a number of companies have fit them into smartphones – manufacturing them on a mass scale remains a challenge.

Are you looking forward to biometric technology in your next smartphone, or are fingerprint scanners passé? Let us know in the comments.