The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are the best smartphones Samsung’s ever made, but its next flagship release, the Note 9, could be even better.
What big marquee feature might Samsung’s most expensive phone have? If a new report ends up correct, that feature could be a fingerprint sensor built right into the display.
A new report from The Korea Herald claims Samsung might have figured out how to put a fingerprint sensor underneath the glass display.
Samsung Display, the Korean conglomerate’s display arm, has reportedly “prepared three or four solutions for Samsung Electronics to embed the fingerprint sensor inside of the main display” for the Note 9.
There’s still some ambiguity here. The new report contradicts previous ones that claimed Samsung would ditch putting fingerprint sensor in the screen due to challenges related to responsiveness and accessories (for example, applying a screen protector could reduce fingerprint-scanning reliability).
Though there’s pressure for Samsung to embed the sensor in the screen — Chinese phone makers like Vivo already have phones with in-display readers — the future of biometric security on phones might not even involve fingerprints, but facial recognition instead.
With the iPhone X, Apple removed its beloved Touch ID fingerprint sensor and went all-in with 3D face recognition via Face ID. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S9 both have their own 2D-based face-unlocking features and iris scanners, but neither is as secure as Face ID.
At CES and Mobile World Congress, we got to try several Android devices with built-in fingerprint solutions and though they’re really intuitive, most of them are still kind of slow (see below videos) compared to a physical sensor either on the front or back of the phone.
Here’s Vivo’s concept phone with embedded fingerprint sensor:
And here’s Doogee’s ultra-slow in-display fingerprint sensor on its new Doogee V phone:
A Note 9 with this new tech would definitely make headlines, but would it really move the needle? We’re not convinced just yet. On the S9, Samsung fixed the one major flaw from the S8: the fingerprint sensor’s location, moving it to a more reachable spot below the rear camera.
Sure, a sensor inside the screen might free up space for other components (perhaps a bigger battery) and streamline the phone’s design, but we wouldn’t be upset if the Note 9 had a repositioned fingerprint sensor just like on the S9. Better to have a reliable fingerprint sensor that works faster than a slow one just for innovation’s sake.
Samsung’s reportedly planning to lock in a decision on the in-screen sensor by the end of the month. We, regulars, however, won’t know what the plan is until the Note 9 launches later this fall.