Samsung will launch Galaxy phones with a Touch ID-style fingerprint scanner soon, industry-watchers predict, as the technology’s falling cost drives massive take-up across the sector.
Marwan Boustany, senior analyst of MEMS and Sensors at IHS, said he expects the phone-maker to follow Apple's lead and “roll out fingerprint-enabled smartphones in 2014” in a bid to boost its handsets' security credentials.
Boustany didn’t name specific models that are earmarked for the tech. But it’s nigh-on certain that fingerprint scanning capabilities will initially be reserved for top-end Galaxy phones. That means the feature is most likely to crop up on the Galaxy S5 and on the Note 4.
His forecasts follow separate reports from earlier this year claiming that Samsung could go one better than Apple by introducing security based on retina scans. This would allow users to unlock their handset just by looking at the screen.
Apple’s Touch ID has already been emulated on the HTC One Max and on less high-profile kits from the likes of Fujitsu, Pantech, LG and Motorola.
IHS predicts that adoption of fingerprint scanning tech will become more widespread over the next 12 months, after Apple’s Touch ID innovations helped overcome long-standing cost barriers.
"Fingerprint scanning for security, authentication and other purposes has always been a conceptually attractive solution in smartphones," said Marwan Boustany.
"However, cost, size, performance and reliability issues have prevented fingerprint sensors from attaining widespread adoption. With the introduction of the iPhone 5s, Apple has overcome these challenges and has offered a fingerprint sensor solution that delivers seamless functionality.
“Now that Apple has shown the way, competitors are in a race to enter the market with similar systems, propelling rapid growth in the coming years.”
Billed as the iPhone 5S's killer software feature, Touch ID is embedded in a redesigned home button, which is fashioned from sapphire-cut crystal and reads users’ fingerprint and sub-epidermal skin layers.