Samsung Galaxy Note 9 To Sport In-Display Fingerprint Scanner: Analyst

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First, the rumor mill claimed Samsung would add the in-display fingerprint sensor to the Galaxy S8. That never happened due to technical challenges. Then they indicated the feature would debut with the Galaxy Note 8. A Samsung executive recently revealed that the upcoming Note would lack the optical fingerprint solution. Samsung fans and the rumor mill were hoping that we might finally see the feature on Galaxy S9. But an analyst claims the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be the first flagship from the Korean company to boast of an optical fingerprint solution.

iPhone 8, Note 8, Galaxy S9 to lack the feature

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is more than a year away. The electronics giant is currently preparing to unveil the Galaxy Note 8 later this month. KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo reports (via 9To5Google) that the Korean company has decided to keep the fingerprint sensor on the back panel for now. Both the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 will have a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The report may disappoint some Samsung fans.

Samsung aims to introduce the optical fingerprint sensor with the Galaxy Note 9 in the second half of 2018. Kuo, often described as the world’s best Apple analyst, is well connected within the Asian smartphone industry supply chain. The Galaxy S8 fingerprint sensor has drawn criticism due to its placement next to the main camera.

Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that Samsung has little reason to risk adopting the in-display fingerprint technology in a hurry on the Galaxy S9, which is set to release in the first half of 2018. Samsung will have new selling points such as a dual camera and an upgraded iris scanner in the Galaxy S9. The analyst has learned from his sources that Apple is also dropping the feature from its 10th anniversary iPhone 8, likely to be announced next month.

Apple was previously rumored to embed the fingerprint sensor into the iPhone 8’s display. But the tech giant has ditched the effort due to technical challenges and yield issues. More recent reports suggest the iPhone 8 would feature 3D sensor for facial recognition. It is not yet known whether Apple will relocate the Touch ID sensor to the back panel or ditch it altogether.

Samsung switches to another supplier

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will feature the fingerprint sensors from Egis rather than Synaptics, added KGI Securities. Samsung has been working with Synaptics on the in-display fingerprint technology for almost a year. It is not yet known why the company is making the switch. Kuo says the Egis sensors will be 4-5 times more expensive than the Synaptics ones.

The analyst pointed out that Synaptics’ sensors are still facing challenges with the optical layer, which has made it difficult for Samsung to catch up with the Galaxy S9 mass production timeline. Anyway, Samsung will not be the first company to launch smartphones with an optical fingerprint solution. Chinese vendor Vivo will be the first to launch smartphones with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is more than a year away

As smartphone vendors increasingly opt for a bezel-less display with no physical home button, they have to find a new place for the fingerprint sensor. They can either move the technology to the rear panel or embed the fingerprint sensor into the display. Embedding the fingerprint scanner into the display has its own set of challenges. That’s one of the reasons Apple is moving to 3D facial recognition with the 10th anniversary iPhone.

Let’s not forget that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is more than a year away. The company hasn’t even announced the Galaxy Note 8 yet. It will likely be weeks or months before we see any concrete evidence of the in-display fingerprint solution on the Note 9. If Kuo’s prediction turns out to be true, it will solve a major complaint that Samsung fans had about the Galaxy S8.

Samsung patents a new smartphone design

It’s too early to predict what the final design of Samsung Galaxy Note 9 would be like. However, a patent awarded to Samsung in May could shed light on the device. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Samsung a patent for a smartphone design that will obviously not be Galaxy Note 8. Images included in the patent filing show an incredibly slim device.

Galaxy note 9 design patent
Image Source: Samsung / USPTO (screenshot)

A slimmer form factor would reduce the space for battery. The Note 9 is rumored to offer 4K display resolution, which would lead to a higher battery consumption. Considering what happened to the Galaxy Note 7 batteries, Samsung will not compromise on the integrity of batteries. So, how would Samsung solve the battery problem? Will it develop a new battery design for the Note 9? Only time will tell.

For now, Samsung is working to announce the Galaxy Note 8 on August 23rd in New York City. The company has already sent out press invites. The device is expected to go on sale on September 15th, about three weeks after the unveiling.

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