Now that Samsung has announced its Unpacked 5 event will take place on Feb. 24 at the World Mobile Congress, many are certain the Samsung Galaxy S5 will soon be unveiled. But while the S5 remains unofficial, the rumors mill is busy churning out as many reports about the upcoming device as it can.
Recent reports out of Korea indicate that Samsung is developing its own fingerprint sensor for the Galaxy S5, indicting that no third-party manufacturers would be involved in the making of Samsung’s new feature. It is believed that Samsung was not impressed with the fingerprint scanner technology from outside suppliers, and has opted to work on the feature on its own.
According to Korean publication ETNews, Samsung’s sensor would function by allowing users to swipe their fingers across the screen in order to read fingerprints -- perhaps similar to the natural functions of a smartphone touchscreen, or to simulate the action of recording fingerprints on paper.
This report piggybacks off another by the Korea Herald, which not long ago reported on the same on-screen fingerprint scanner concept for the Samsung Galaxy S5. According to the Herald, Samsung aims to differentiate its scanner from the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S, which is located within its sensitized home button. Sources also note that an on-screen fingerprint scanner would provide more surface area for more accurate readings.
While a fingerprint scanner for the Galaxy S5 is not yet confirmed, several clues are currently circulating in favor of the feature. During the 2014 International CES in January, Samsung executive vice president of Mobile Business Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg that Samsung was "studying the possibility" of a finger scanner for the Galaxy S5. Additionally, the Korea Herald also reported that Samsung has since scrapped plans for the iris sensor technology, which was rumored for the Galaxy S5 early on, but is supposedly not developed enough to be featured on the device. Other fingerprint scanner evidence includes the screenshot of a Fingerprint Service APK file, which tech informant evleaks claims is for the Galaxy S5.
Could Leaked Cases Further Indicate a Fingerprint Sensor?
Further evidence for the on-screen swipe fingerprint scanner on the Samsung Galaxy S5 may come in the form of a recent leak of protective cases, which are reportedly for the S5. Currently, the U.K. online vendor Mobile Fun is offering supposed Galaxy S5 cases by accessory supplier Trident on pre-order. One Galaxy S5 case series is called Aegis, which is selling for $41.99, while another, called Kraken, is going for $57.99.
Whether these cases are legitimately for the Samsung Galaxy S5 is currently uncertain. They look similar to cases for already released accessories, such as the OtterBox Defender case for the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, if true, sources have considered that the lack of extra openings or wider openings on the leaked cases’ back panels could serve as more evidence that the Galaxy S5 will feature its fingerprint sensor on the screen and nowhere else.
The HTC One Max, for example, has utilized it spacious back panel for the location of its fingerprint sensor feature. The HTC One Max intends to take advantage of the natural way users hold a device. The placement of its fingerprint sensor allows users to hold their device and place fingers on the sensor without having to look at it. Cases for the HTC One Max include an opening long enough for the devices’ fingerprint sensor and its camera module, which is located above. On the leaked Galaxy S5 cases, the opening appears to be long enough only for the camera module, which includes a flash.
Many Different Fingerprint Scanners
Many manufacturers currently implementing, or that are rumored to be implementing, fingerprint scanner technology all appear to be developing their own unique iterations of the feature. This is likely to avoid legal issues due to intellectual property infringement. Notably, Samsung and Apple will meet in March at a trial to determine whether either company has infringed on various patents belonging to the other. Apple and HTC are both members of the Rockstar consortium, an association of mobile manufacturers, which together owns countless industry patents.
At this point, it is expected that the true features of the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be known in less than three weeks. Currently, IBTimes recommends that consumers wait until the Samsung Galaxy S5 is unveiled in order to purchase cases from third-party manufacturers.
Do you believe the Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature an on-screen fingerprint scanner? Let us know in the comments below.