It’s been a little slow to happen, but fingerprint scanning on mobile devices is slowly beginning to make a comeback. After Apple got things rolling with the iPhone 5S, we’ve seen efforts from HTC, and most recently Samsung, to bring such sensors to their own models – we’re even likely to soon see the tech extend to tablets. But the hottest space in mobile right now isn’t smartphones nor tablets, but the exploding wearables market; will fingerprint scanning find a home there? Sensor-maker Synaptics says “yes,” and that we might see such devices arrive next year.
That’s according to Synaptics CEO Rick Bergman, and while he didn’t identify a specific smartwatch that might feature such a scanner, nor even which company might deliver it, Synaptics is Samsung’s source for the scanner in the Galaxy S5 and Samsung Z, and we expect the relationship between these companies to continue. As such, we wouldn’t be surprised for a 2015 Gear model to arrive with the kind of fingerprint scanning abilities Synaptics is talking about here.
There’s a lot of potential for what could be done with a smartwatch capable of authenticating users like this, and we’re sure that mobile payments will only be one of the use cases we see arrive.
Synaptics also talks about its move to area-type scanners (like on the iPhone) rather than the swipe-type we see on the GS5; the company expects to start getting such scanners into phones this fall, and these area-type sensors are the same ones it plans to bring to smartwatches next year.