Samsung Electronics will not adopt fingerprint scanners in its new product lines until the second half of next year because it considers the technology to be still nascent, according to analysts.
Despite mounting speculation about the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor, Samsung did not adopt it for the Galaxy Note 3 and instead used its existing security technology called Knox solution.
“We never officially admitted that Samsung was weighing the fingerprint system and Knox for Galaxy Note 3 for security functions. We are not yet developing the technology,” a Samsung official said.
Currently, Crucialtec is known as the only Korean company specializing in fingerprint scanners for smartphones.
“Samsung has to rely on the company for fingerprint functions, but its technology level is still behind Authentec in terms of patents and solutions. It will take a year more for the company to supply stable technology,” said Seoul-based Woori Investment & Securities analyst Kim Hye-yong. Apple acquired Authentec, a mobile security solutions company, last year for the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S.
Currently, Pantech’s Vega LTE-A uses Crucialtec’s swipe-type technology. The iPhone 5S’ area type is known to be more accurate and faster though the size still remains a challenge to overcome.
Crucialtec may have developed the technologies to a certain level as it has experiences working with Authentec in the past. The company has been building references through Pantech and some Chinese handset makers to ultimately supply to Samsung, an industry source said.
“Samsung will certainly adopt the fingerprint technologies down the road. Fingerprint scanners are a trend rather than a necessity. There seems to be few things that can be added to handsets. Smartphone makers now face an innovation hurdle,” Hyundai Securities’ researcher Yoon Jung-sun said.
“In the mobile sector, Samsung has been a fast follower instead of being a risk taker. It is waiting until its rival Apple opens up the market to some extent.”
Even Apple’s ambitious fingerprint system has shown how the technology level is still nascent as Germany hackers claimed to have bypassed the iPhone 5S’ touch fingerprint authentication system.
In the domestic market, users do not feel the need for the fingerprint sensor as the authentication certificate system, which is perceived as much safer than the current level of fingerprint technology, is widely used for phone banking services.
“For the fingerprint sensor to be used for banking services, its security function has to be upgraded much more,” an industry source said.
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com