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Galaxy S8 rumored to feature optical fingerprint recognition

A new rumor claims the Galaxy S8 will incorporate an optical fingerprint scanner, but we don't see this one panning out. Here's why.

Published onOctober 26, 2016

Fingerprint Cards FPC1268 under glass fingerprint scanner

By now you will have heard the rumor that the Galaxy S8 will finally do away with the physical home button. While the obvious question has been “what will happen to the fingerprint scanner?”, a possible answer has just cropped up via Weibo: optical fingerprint recognition. While that may sound good, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Sorry, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will not be launching early

Sam Mobile reports that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will feature an optical fingerprint scanner housed under the seamless glass of its front display. The site claims that optical recognition is both faster and more accurate than the kind of ultrasonic fingerprint scanning made possible by Qualcomm’s Sense ID.

But our own rundown on the different types of fingerprint scanners available explains why optical fingerprint scanners are not so secure (even if they are faster). This is because they rely on a glorified camera that only captures a 2D image. As you likely remember, older fingerprint scanners were notoriously easy to fool – these were optical scanners.

Optical scanners are notoriously easy to fool.

Considering the Galaxy S8 will feature chipsets manufactured by Qualcomm as well as Samsung, we think Sense ID ultrasonic scanning sounds much more likely.

While Samsung may be working on an advanced optical scanner, it would need to be a significant advancement over even the advanced kind of electro-optical scanner that can distinguish between a live finger and an image of a finger. But why Samsung would want to update an old scanning technology rather than adopt a new one is beyond me.

While it would be wise to take any rumor originating from Weibo with a grain of salt, the source of this rumor claims that Samsung is currently experiencing lower than expected yields for the optical scanning components required for the S8. Only time will tell if this rumor pans out to be true, but we’ll be keeping a close on eye on it.

Would you prefer optical fingerprint scanning over an iris scanner?