Samsung planned to integrate the fingerprint sensor in the screen of the Galaxy S8, but the technology was simply not ready in time, a new report claims.
Citing industry sources, Korea’s The Investor says Samsung was hoping to equip the Galaxy S8 with an embedded sensor manufactured by Synaptics, the US-based touch solutions provider. Indeed, early Galaxy S8 rumors suggested that would be the case.
But the project “ran out of time,” said sources, and Samsung was forced to settle for mounting the sensor on the back of the device.
The location of the sensor – right beside the camera – has been revealed in multiple leaks, and reactions have been controversial, to say the least. People just don’t seem to like the setup, which requires reaching with the finger to the top of the phone, potentially smudging the camera in the process.
The decision to switch to a rear-mounted sensor was reportedly made “at the last minute”
The decision to switch to a rear-mounted sensor was reportedly made “at the last minute,” which could explain the somehow awkward design. It wasn’t for a lack of trying: the report says that Samsung “poured resources” into Synaptics and made “all-out efforts” to finish in time for the Galaxy S8’s April release.
If it’s any consolation, competitors – including Apple – are likely facing similar issues implementing in-screen fingerprint sensing technology. Rumors about the next iPhone claim the smartphone would be the first to drop the physical home button, which raises the question of where the fingerprint sensor will be located on the device. “It is still extremely difficult to develop transparent sensors and components to be used for an all-screen smartphone,” a source in the Korean display industry told The Investor.
Expect iris recognition and “advanced facial recognition”
Samsung may be trying to supplant fingerprint-based authentication with a combination of iris recognition (similar to the Note 7) and “advanced facial recognition,” enabling unlocking times of under 0.01 seconds.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are still weeks away, but the leaks just keep coming, which is uncharacteristic for Samsung’s major launches. We could speculate that we’re seeing a fair number of controlled leaks, designed to shape public expectations for the new phones and to steal some of the thunder of LG G6 and other competitors. Even this well-timed report seems a convenient way to explain and rationalize the controversial placement of the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S8, without requiring any sort of official statement from Samsung.
(Controlled) leaks aside, Samsung is openly trying to get the spotlight off the LG G6, at least in South Korea. In a very unusual step, Samsung began to air teaser commercials for the Galaxy S8, just as its crosstown rival was reporting good early sales of the LG G6.
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