Google never said the Nexus 6 would pack a fingerprint reader—at least not in public—but behind the scenes the company may have been planning on offering a biometric sensor. A new interview with former Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside in The Telegraph reveals just how close the company was to including the technology.
It turns out that Motorola was working with the “best supplier” of fingerprint recognition technology before that company was acquired by Apple. Woodside doesn’t mention the firm by name, but we assume he’s talking about AuthenTec, which ended up powering the Touch ID technology included in Apple devices starting with the iPhone 5s.
Woodside adds that the fingertip-sized dimple on the back of the Nexus 6 was originally meant to serve as a biometric scanner. Last month, a Fingerprint API for the device actually surfaced in the Android Open Source Project forum, suggesting that Motorola and Google kept trying even after Apple bought AthenTec.
It’s crazy to imagine what the industry might look like today if Google and Motorola had scooped up AuthenTec first. Would the Nexus 6 be an even bigger hit? Would Apple Pay exist at all without Touch ID to power it? It’s tough to say, though we have a feeling Motorola still regrets not buying AutheTec when it had the chance.