Samsung’s highly anticipated return to its Phablet series in the form of a Note 8 isn’t going to plan according to new reports. Apparently, it’s plan for an on-screen Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor is fraught technical issues and could be dropped.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Fingerprint Sensor
Image Credit: Concept Creator / YouTube video (screenshot)

Galaxy Note 8 Fingerprint Sensor

As the race is on to be bezel-free, so is the competition to embed a sensor beneath a display. If this rumor is true, it means Apple’s iPhone 8 is the only handset shipping with the tech this year.

If you’re not familiar with this tech, or why there’s a scramble to have it on-screen, here’s a brief description.

An on-screen fingerprint sensor enables a smartphone user to unlock their device by touching the screen with a finger. This process is not only fast, and convenient, but is also considered to be more secure than using unlock codes.

Samsung’s Difficulties

Just a month ago, rumors had a fingerprint sensor appearing on the screens of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. However, as we now know, this was put off due to production difficulties. Those issues mean that now owners of those devices have to gamble with touching their camera lens or fingerprint sensor. Which is causing a headache for owners due to camera smudging, a problem Samsung could not foresee?

As for a Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor, we know a little more about the problems the company is facing. According to a report in the Korean Herald, Samsung’s problems with the integrated chip are serious.

It seems as though the problem lies with the opaque nature of the technology (it can’t be seen through). What Samsung needs to do, to get things right, is to make it transparent. However, that represents an enormous technical challenge for the company. As such, the Korean Herald’s source suggests that difficulty is leading to low production yields.

To find a solution, Samsung has almost exhausted all avenues of research for this transparent Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor. But, to no avail, so much focus has been placed upon its embedding that new problems have come to light. Such as an apparent security flaw which was reported in South Korea a few weeks ago.

Brightness Imbalance

Yet another report, this time via Android Headlines, cast’s further doubt on the Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor. Although, this reason is not related to the previous, and is but one among many problems Samsung faces.

According to the report, information provided by an industry insider suggests Samsung is experiencing screen brightness imbalance problems. This imbalance is caused by the company’s inability to balance the brightness of its display panel with the fingerprint sensor. How much of a hurdle is this problem for Samsung?

The answer is, we don’t know, there is little detail available. However, Android Headlines suggests that it’s where the Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor is placed that is the problem. It’s location causing that area of a display to be too bright. Right now, no one knows how frequent this problem is, or whether it’s adding to the low yield rates. As for what is known, that is, that Samsung has managed to create a working prototype. One that has a fingerprint sensor embedded into the screen with the screen brightness perfectly balanced. The problem, however, is that it’s not an easy process to perfect, it takes time. So, the issue could be that Samsung just needs more time to perfect it.

Galaxy Note 8 Fingerprint Sensor
Image Source: Ice Universe / Weibo.com (screenshot0

What does that mean?

It could mean, that Samsung will be unable to successfully commercialize the technology before Spring 2018. And that could also mean that the Galaxy Note 8 fingerprint sensor on-screen dream, won’t happen. Instead, we may have to wait until the launch of a future Galaxy S9 handset.

Having said that, Samsung is its own master, and unless it’s compelled to by some unknown force to launch early, it will solve this. After all, there have been reports of the company scrapping the embedded fingerprint scanner for some time. And as it’s clear that all it needs is time, don’t be surprised if the launch of the handset is later than you think.

Additionally, a recent Weibo leak, suggests that Apple is also experiencing the screen brightness problem. The leak goes on to say that brightness differences on the iPhone 8 display are on where the sensor is embedded. So, is 2017 going to be the year we see on-screen biometrics or is 2018 or likely?