Users may be able to unlock the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with their eyes. A hint of such a prospective feature has recently surfaced directly from Samsung Electronics Co. (KRX: 005930).
The Korean manufacturer has already introduced its finger scanner biometric user identification tool on the Galaxy S5 smartphone, which it began selling in April. With finger scanner, users can use their fingerprints to unlock a Galaxy S5 handset, sign into various accounts and authorize online payments. But prior to its release there were rumors that Samsung was planning an iris scanner feature for the device. Notably, Executive Vice President of Mobile Business Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg in January that Samsung was "studying the possibility" of an iris scanner on the Galaxy S5.
"Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology," she said.
The Galaxy S5 ultimately was released without the iris scanner feature. Instead the device’s finger scanner competed with the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) Touch ID, which was introduced on the iPhone 5s last September
But a recent post from the Samsung Exynos Twitter account could indicate that Samsung’s plans for an eye scanner of some sort may continue. Featuring an image of a smartphone with a human eye reflected in the glass, the tweet reads, “Security can be improved using features unique to us. That's what we envision. What would you use?”
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Several reports consider sider that the tweet could be a hint at the new feature and have taken to calling it a “retina scanner” as opposed to an iris scanner.
Though new biometric features for upcoming Samsung devices cannot be confirmed from a tweet alone, Samsung executives have been discussing the technology for some time. Samsung’s senior vice president Rhee In-jong detailed at an analysts and investors forum in Hong Kong in May that the manufacturer is using biometrics in conjunction with its enterprise security software called Knox.
“We’re looking at various types of biometric [mechanisms] and one of things that everybody is looking at is iris detection,” he said.
According to Rhee, Samsung primarily wants to introduce iris detection on its high-end devices, which would include the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphone lines. Samsung has also launched a high-end tablet line with the Galaxy Tab S.
Many are connecting the iris or retina scanner to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 because it is the next high-end device on Samsung’s pipeline. Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy Note 4 at the IFA Expo in Berlin in September.