Technology

Galaxy Note 9 To Offer In-Display Fingerprint Sensor, 5G Support

Galaxy Note 9 In-display fingerprint sensor
Image source: Upcoming Phones (video screen grab)

The Galaxy Note 9 is one of the most hotly-anticipated smartphones coming out in the second half of 2018. The rumor mill believes that Note 9 would resemble the recently launched Galaxy S9 Plus, though it would have some Note-specific features such as the S Pen stylus. Fresh reports suggest that the Galaxy Note 9 could bring some new features that Samsung has never offered on its smartphones yet. They include an in-display fingerprint sensor and 5G support.

There has been a lot of talk about the in-display fingerprint reader in recent weeks. If Vivo could manage to integrate the fingerprint sensor under the display panel, why can’t Samsung? Vivo has launched a phone that uses Synaptics’ Clear ID FS9500 in-display fingerprint scanner. Apparently, Samsung believes Synaptics’ technology is not fast and secure enough for its flagship smartphones.

Sources familiar with the development told the Korea Herald that Samsung would add the in-display fingerprint sensor to the Galaxy Note 9. Samsung Electronics’ sister firm Samsung Display has developed “three or four solutions” to embed the fingerprint sensor under the main display. Samsung and Samsung Display are seriously considering one of the solutions, which could find its way into the Note 9. They will make a final decision on the technology by the end of this month.

The optical fingerprint sensor will allow Samsung to ditch the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. It will make unlocking the phone and authenticating payments as easy as placing your finger on the screen. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had said last year that Note 9 would be Samsung’s first handset to feature an optical fingerprint solution. But Kuo said recently that the feature was still facing “technological difficulties,” and it might not find its way into the Note 9.

The Korea Herald’s report suggests that Samsung would be able to overcome the “technological difficulties” in time for the Galaxy Note 9 launch. Sources told The Herald that Samsung Display had “enough time” to improve the technology to meet Samsung’s expectations. Due to its complexity, the in-display fingerprint sensor will cost Samsung more than the Face ID facial recognition system costs Apple.

Meanwhile, Korean site The Bell reports (via The Android Soul) that Samsung is considering 5G support for the Galaxy Note 9. Major wireless carriers from around the world have been investing heavily in the 5G rollout, but the technology is believed to be some time away. The Bell says Samsung wants its phones to be ready for the next-gen technology. Sources told the publication that Samsung is planning to switch from the traditional Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) to the latest High-Frequency Range antenna that is required for 5G data transmission and reception.

It’s incredibly difficult to transmit and receive high-frequency information through the LDS. So, the technology will likely become outdated when 5G arrives. Apple has already switched from LDS to High-Frequency Range antennas with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The new antenna will also help make the Galaxy Note 9 slimmer than its predecessor. Alternatively, Samsung could use the additional space to pack a bigger battery instead of reducing the thickness of the phone. According to Twitter tipster Ice Universe, the Note 9 would feature a huge 3850mAh battery.

SamMobile reports that Samsung has started developing the Galaxy Note 9’s firmware. The device would run Android 8.1 Oreo-based Samsung Experience UI. According to the site, Samsung is working on two versions of the firmware: N960FXXE0ARB7 and N960FXXU0ARC5. One of them is for the Snapdragon 845-powered Note 9 that would be sold in the US and China, and another is for the Exynos 9810 variant that would be sold in other countries.

The firmware development for the Note 9 began two weeks earlier than Samsung started developing firmware for the Galaxy Note 8 last year. It could be an indication that Samsung is planning to launch the Note 9 earlier than usual. The Note 8 debuted on August 23 last year. The Note 9 could be unveiled in late July or early August.

The Note 9 is expected to have the same technical specifications as the Galaxy S9 Plus. It is rumored to pack 6GB RAM and feature a vertically-aligned dual camera system on the back. We can expect the Note 9 to get the S9 Plus’s dual apertures that enhance low-light photography, super slow-mo videos at 960fps, and the AR Emoji feature that turns your facial expressions into cartoon characters. It would retain the bezel-less Super AMOLED Infinity display.

Samsung executives have indicated that the S Pen stylus would get a major upgrade with the Galaxy Note 9. Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh recently said that the company would roll out a more powerful Bixby 2.0 AI assistant with the upcoming phablet. The Bixby 2.0 will be capable of recognizing individual voices and giving personalized answers. Samsung recently trademarked the “Note 9” moniker in Colombia, confirming that it has no plans to change the naming pattern this year.