Fingerprint sensors on Samsung’s flagship smartphones used to be easily accessible. Then came the edge-to-edge Infinity Display, which forced Samsung to move the fingerprint scanner to the rear panel near the camera, not an ideal place. The Korean company doesn’t yet have enough confidence in its in-display fingerprint technology to embed it into the display. So, it is exploring a few other placement options with the Galaxy S9 fingerprint sensor.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently noted that Samsung wouldn’t be able to bring the optical fingerprint sensor to the market before the Galaxy Note 9, which is expected to arrive in the second half of 2018. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanners on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 were not received well by consumers. So, where will the Galaxy S9 fingerprint sensor be placed?
A patent awarded to Samsung on Monday by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPRIS) (via SamMobile) suggests that the Galaxy S9 fingerprint sensor would be placed on the front panel. The patent, titled Cryptic Display Apparatus and Method of Manufacturing Display Apparatus, was originally filed in April 2016. The filing explains a small recess similar to the Essential Phone at the bottom of the Galaxy S9 front panel to house the fingerprint reader.
It is too early to say how consumers would react to the bottom notch. In a recent poll conducted by SamMobile, most of the participants said they didn’t want an iPhone X-like notch on Samsung’s flagship models. I feel the bottom recess could ruin the beauty of the Galaxy S9. Both the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 are incredibly gorgeous smartphones, thanks to their Infinity Display. Will the S9 look equally gorgeous with a permanent notch at the bottom?
Of course, a patent is no guarantee that Samsung will commercialize this technology with the Galaxy S9. But the company is fully aware that users haven’t liked the rear fingerprint reader, and that the optical fingerprint solution is still about a year away. There have also been speculations that the Galaxy S9 could feature a 3D infrared sensor for facial recognition similar to the iPhone X’s Face ID. However, Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Android vendors won’t be able to develop and implement a Face ID-like technology for at least 18-24 months.
A small recess for the Galaxy S9 fingerprint sensor would be, if implemented, a stop-gap solution until Samsung introduces the optical fingerprint reader. Kuo has told investors that the optical fingerprint scanner itself would be a stop-gap solution until Samsung develops the Face ID-like facial recognition system. Android vendors’ interest into face detection solutions has surged manifold since the announcement of the iPhone X, said Kuo.
Separately, Twitter tipster Benjamin Geskin leaked the logo of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Geskin said in another tweet that the upcoming flagship would be powered by 6GB RAM. There will be 128GB of internal storage, plus a microSD card slot for further memory expansion. The rumor mill claims that there would also be a 256GB storage model. The Galaxy S9 would sport a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display while its bigger sibling would feature a 6.2-inch screen. It means Samsung will keep the same screen size as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
Sources told Geskin that the US and Chinese versions of the Galaxy S9 would be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. The units sold in other parts of the world would run Samsung’s in-house Exynos 9 processor built using 10nm manufacturing process. We reported earlier this year that Samsung had secured the initial supply of the Snapdragon 845 for the Galaxy S9.
It means other vendors will not get to use the Snapdragon 845 in their devices until several months after the Galaxy S9 launch. Only time will tell whether the Galaxy S9 would be more powerful than Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone X, which runs a custom A11 Bionic chip.
Among other things, we can expect the Galaxy S9 to have an improved Bixby AI assistant deeply integrated into every aspect of the device. The phone would feature an improved dual camera setup on the back. We can also expect an improvement in battery life, and an IP68 rating for water- and dust-resistance.
The rumor mill claims that Samsung would launch the Galaxy S9 at the Mobile World Congress next year. But the company could also hold a separate event if the phone isn’t ready in time for MWC. Samsung did something similar with the Galaxy S8 launch earlier this year. A few earlier reports have claimed that the Galaxy S9 could launch as early as January next year to defend Samsung’s market share against Apple’s iPhone X.