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Samsung Wants Biometric Sensors in All Phones

by Jacob Kleinman | May 19, 2014May 19, 2014 8:30 am PST

Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Reader

Samsung wasn’t the first company to sell a smartphone with a built-in fingerprint sensor but, thanks to the company’s massive user base, the Galaxy S5 will soon join the iPhone 5s as one of the most popular handsets on the market with a fingerprint reader. The Wall Street Journal said on Monday that Samsung plans to offer biometric features on its cheaper devices as well.

Samsung said that it’s considering all options for biometrics and isn’t just limiting itself to fingerprint readers. The Galaxy S5’s fingerprint reader, for example, doesn’t work as well as Apple’s Touch ID, and it looks like Samsung is already preparing to regroup and try something different. “We’re looking at  various types of biometric [mechanisms] and one of things that everybody is looking at is iris detection,” Rhee In-jong, Samsung’s senior vice president revealed at a forum on Monday, noting that the feature will likely appear in high-end smartphones first.

The real reason behind Samsung’s interest in biometrics is about more than just trying to outpace Apple in the space. The South Korean company is racing to capture the enterprise market as BlackBerry’s grasp on the business world continues to weaken. The addition of biometric security along with its KNOX system could position Samsung as the industry standard for bring-your-own-device businesses.

Samsung’s fingerprint reader is already open to third parties, like PayPal. While that implementation came with mixed results, it shows that Samsung is willing to expand its offering beyond core applications. Apple, meanwhile, keeps its fingerprint reader locked down. Samsung clearly still has a ways to go when it comes to biometrics, but its commitment to the technology, and its massive reach, could help shift the service from a high-end frill to an industry standard.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...