The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does not feature a fingerprint sensor and a new report indicates Samsung will not be ready to add a fingerprint sensor to the Galaxy S5 which we expect in early 2014.
The report leaves the door open for a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or other premium Galaxy devices in the second half of 2014, but that is dependent on crucial advances in fingerprint technology from the sole Korean firm working on a competing solution for Apple’s iPhone 5s sensor.
While hackers are already able to lift a fingerprint and use it to unlock an iPhone 5s, with techniques and some special tools, fingerprint sensors are still marketed as a security and convenience features for the new iPhone, and as Samsung looks to take a larger role in the enterprise such a sensor could become a necessary feature, with some security enhancements.
Early rumors suggested the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is shipping in just a week in the U.S., would include a fingerprint sensor. That rumor turned out to be false and a new report from the Korea Herald indicates Samsung skipped the feature because the technology is not ready for prime time.
The report also indicates that the fingerprint technology will not be ready for the Samsung Galaxy S5 either, but may be ready for a debut on a new phone in late 2014, which opens up the possibility of adding it to a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which logically would arrive next fall based on earlier Note announcements.
In the report an un-named Samsung executive states, “We never officially admitted that Samsung was weighing the fingerprint system and Knox for Galaxy Note 3 for security functions. We are not yet developing the technology.” This is interesting because leaks hint at biometric access details inside code for Samsung’s smartphones, but it may be that Samsung is not developing it internally, but instead relying on a Korean firm.
According to Kim Hye-yong an analyst with Woori Investment & Securities in Seoul, Samsung will need to use Crucialtec, another Korean company, to add a fingerprint sensor to the company’s smartphone lineup. According to Hye-yong, Samsung and Crucialtech are not near the level that Apple is after buying Authentec in 2012, stating, “…its technology level is still behind Authentec in terms of patents and solutions. It will take a year more for the company to supply stable technology.”
Crucialtec currently makes a fingerprint reader that requires users swipe over it, similar to the less reliable ones found on laptops in recent years. The video below shows this in action.
Despite claims that the company is not developing fingerprint technology, Samsung could be waiting for Crucialtec to deliver a best-in-class solution before adding this feature to a Galaxy device.