Samsung Galaxy S8 Home Button May Be Replaced With Optical Fingerprint Scanner

November 29, 2016 | Fionna Agomuoh of iDigitalTimes

Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors are beginning to heat up with suggestions the smartphone may have a feature similar to one pegged for the iPhone 8. Reports out of China suggest Samsung may do away with the physical home button, which houses a fingerprint scanner on its devices, in favor for an optical fingerprint scanner under the device’s display.

Apple has long been expected to include such a feature on its next smartphone. The company was first to introduce fingerprint scanning technology on a mainstream device in 2013 with the iPhone 5. The TouchID fingerprint scanner was located within the device’s home button Samsung quickly followed suit, introducing its own version of a home button fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S5.

Many other manufacturer have played around with scanner configurations with sensors located on a device’s back panel or side. But there has yet to be a globally available smartphone featuring a fingerprint scanner with no home button. The Xiaomi Mi 5s includes a sub-display fingerprint scanner; however, that device is available only in China.

If the rumors are accurate, Samsung would likely beat Apple to the market in removing the home button from its flagship device. The Galaxy S8 is expected to be announced in the spring, possibly around February with a March release. Despite a current delay in production so Samsung engineers can investigate the Galaxy Note 7 explosion defect, the Galaxy S8 is expected to release according to Samsung’s original schedule.

There is no word on whether Samsung’s optical fingerprint sensor would be made in-house or by a third party. There are many suppliers vying for this space; one such is a biometrics company called VKANSEE, which claims its optical fingerprint is more accurate than both Apple and Samsung’s touch-based sensors. The sensor can capture a fingerprint image at 2-megapixels and 2,000 dots per inch (dpi), while the average capacitive fingerprint sensor captures images at .5-megapixels and 500 dpi.

Vkansee told iDigitalTimes in June that it hoped to have its product available for mass market within eight to 12 months, which could put it on par with the Galaxy S8 release.

Samsung has made no comment about planned features for the Galaxy S8. The company has discussed all but confirmed the Galaxy S8 will come to market in 2017, in an effort to address issues with the Galaxy Note 7.