It’s no secret that Samsung has been working to add an in-display fingerprint reader on its flagship smartphones. The company failed to implement the optical fingerprint solution on the Galaxy S8, and failed again to add it to the Galaxy Note 8. Now don’t expect the Galaxy S9 fingerprint reader to be placed under the display panel. No, that’s not going to happen.

Galaxy S9 Fingerprint Reader
Image Credit: Benjamin Geskin / Twitter (screenshot)

Galaxy S9 fingerprint reader to sit on the back panel

One of the biggest complaints about the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is that it is difficult to reach. You can’t unlock the phone without lifting it up from the table. Also, the rear fingerprint sensor is horribly close to the main camera, which means there is a high chance you’ll accidentally place your fingers on the camera lens.

Samsung has already developed an in-display fingerprint technology, but it continues to suffer from security and production issues. Korean publication The Investor reports that the Galaxy S9 fingerprint reader will remain on the back panel “just like the preceding models.” The optical fingerprint solution might not arrive until the Galaxy Note 9 launch in the second half of 2018.

S9 mass production to start in December

The Investor added that Samsung had “finalized the hardware specifications” for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Twitter tipster Ice Universe recently reported that the new phones would look similar to their predecessors. The Investor claims the Galaxy S9 is set to enter pilot production in October. Mass production is scheduled to kick off in December. A December production schedule, if true, indicates the Galaxy S9 would arrive sooner than Samsung’s usual release cycle of March/April.

The next-gen flagship could hit the store shelves in late January or February. The rumor mill has claimed previously that the Galaxy S9 would go on sale earlier than usual to defend Samsung’s market share against Apple’s incredibly popular iPhone X. If the iPhone X gets a free run, most buyers will not upgrade their device for at least a couple of years given the phone’s $999 price tag. Samsung needs to steal some buyers away from the iPhone X.

Samsung to revamp its rear panel

Keeping the Galaxy S9 fingerprint reader on the rear panel doesn’t mean it will have an equally awkward position like S8 or Note 8. Reports coming out of China claimed last month that Samsung would revamp the rear panel to place the Galaxy S9 fingerprint reader in a more ergonomic location. Instead of being positioned next to the camera, it would be located below the dual camera system, LED flash, and the heart rate sensor. Yes, the Galaxy S9 is getting a dual camera system.

An industry source told The Investor that the Korean company “won’t get rid of fingerprint sensors” anytime soon because many of its services and platforms rely on that technology. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has indicated that Samsung is working on Face ID-like 3D facial detection technology that could replace the fingerprint reader. However, the 3D facial recognition system is still at least a couple of years away.

Kuo believes Samsung would introduce the in-display fingerprint technology with the Galaxy Note 9. Samsung doesn’t want to rush the feature because it cannot compromise on user security. The Note 9 will be Samsung’s first smartphone that users will be able to unlock by placing their fingers on the screen. The optical fingerprint solution will also make the rear panel look more beautiful.

According to Kuo, three companies are in the race to supply the in-display fingerprint sensors to Samsung, and Synaptics is not one of them. Samsung had been working on Synaptics on a similar technology, but the company is currently testing sample components from Samsung LSI, BeyondEyes, and Egis. Synaptics’ technology was reportedly facing issues with the optical layer.

The Galaxy S9 may have some new sensors

Android Headlines reports that the Galaxy S9 would feature some kind of new sensors. The report is based on the LinkedIn profile of Samsung’s Principal Engineer Dongsoo Kim. Kim’s profile says he is working on a new sensor for the S9, and that they are laying out ideas for the Galaxy S10 and S11. It is unclear what the new sensor will be. It could be anything, but Dongsoo Kim primarily works on camera and image sensors for Samsung’s flagships. He worked on the Dual Pixel sensor for the Galaxy S7. Given his track record, the new sensor is most likely related to the camera.

The Galaxy S9 is rumored to run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 or Samsung’s Exynos 9 processor depending on the market. It would also feature a neural engine to handle advanced AI tasks. The device would offer 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. And of course, it is said to have to same screen size as the current Galaxy S8.