Rumor: No Galaxy S9 Face ID

Samsung Galaxy S9 Fingerprint ReaderImage Credit: Benjamin Geskin / Twitter (screenshot)

Perhaps one of the most exciting and controversial features of the new iPhone X is the Face ID. Being able to unlock your phone by simply looking at it is convenient when it works, and it seems as if Apple has the technology more or less well-developed. Many people were pleasantly surprised with how well the feature works, and are calling the iPhone X “the future of smartphones.” It remains to be seen whether other smartphone manufacturers will follow in the company’s footsteps with their own take on facial recognition, but it seems that some major players are taking a pass on this new technology. Recent rumors indicate that there will be no Galaxy S9 Face ID on the upcoming phone.

This information comes from a report from Business Korea, and seems to suggest that despite including basic facial recognition technology on the Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8, Samsung will be not be updating to match Apple’s new 3D face mapping technology with their new phone.

Facial recognition from the Galaxy phones, while convenient, was not secure enough to be used in any situation where security is paramount. The only way you could use features like Samsung or Google Pay was with the more secure fingerprint, passcode, or iris scans.

Apple’s new Face ID, however, has much more robust technology that allows it to be used for utilities like Apple Pay. This disparity is due to the 30,000 infrared dots that the iPhone X casts across your face every time you try to unlock. Apple’s method uses 3D scanning rather than 2D; this extreme data sensitivity, combined with a camera that gets better at recognizing you when it makes mistakes, means that the company is miles ahead when it comes to this new technology.

Other information in the Business Korea report includes sizing for both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ at 5.8-inches and 6.2-inches respectively. These sizes would match the current build of the S8 line. The phones may also feature a 3-stack layer image sensor in their cameras capable of capturing 960 frames per second. This sensor is expensive technology, so expect the retail price of the phones to exceed the $750 price tag of the Galaxy S8 when it launched last spring.

Samsung has yet to comment on the Galaxy S9 Face ID rumors, and many people are wondering if the tech giant even has time to implement this new technology with how recently Apple has released the iPhone X. It’s likely that we’ll see this sort of face mapping in the future — with the Note 9, perhaps — but it’s looking like Apple’s iPhone X may be the only phone of its kind for the immediate future. Initial reports anticipate a February or March launch for the Galaxy S9, with the Note 9 arriving in late summer or early fall. The late summer release should give Samsung a little bit of time to get a leg up on Apple before the release of the newest iPhone.

Whether or not the Galaxy S9 Face ID is actually dead in the water remains to be seen, but if the technology is omitted, Samsung had better deliver something else that places it above Apple’s iPhone X in the minds of consumers. Past rumors indicated that the fingerprint sensor of the S9 would be built into the screen, but that misinformation has since been debunked by SamMobile with reports that the sensor will still be physical. This sort of tech would have set it apart from the iPhone line, especially considering how disappointed many customers were that Apple had ditched the home button altogether.

Recent releases in the iPhone line have been iterative, but Apple truly delivered something special and different with the release of the iPhone X. If Samsung wants to capture the attention of a market currently impressed by Apple, they really need to pull out all of the stops.

About the Author

Zachary Riley
Zachary Riley has been writing for several years across a wide variety of platforms, with most of his work focusing on topics related to technology and science. Before starting work with ValueWalk, he worked primarily for websites informing and connecting customers with appropriate internet and television plans. Zachary is currently finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in English at the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.