Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may have a “under-display optical fingerprint” sensor

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is one of the biggest phones Samsung’s ever made, not to mention one of the best, and there’s no doubt that the company will follow it up next year with the Galaxy Note 9.

In fact, we’re already hearing rumors about Galaxy Note 9, and they suggest it could be even more futuristic than the iPhone X.

For months, we’ve been hearing fairly frequent rumors about the Samsung Galaxy X, a smartphone that will feature a folding display. The idea is that you’ll be able to use it as a smartphone, and then fold it out to full tablet size, creating a whole new mobile segment that mirrors the tablet-laptop 2-in-1 hybrids we’ve already seen from the computing industry. But here we have something bigger than Galaxy X…

Samsung’s next Galaxy Note phone may have a key feature that Apple reportedly had to drop from the iPhone X because of production issues.

The Galaxy Note 9 may have an “under-display optical fingerprint” sensor when it’s released in the second half of 2018, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities known for his understanding of the Asian electronics supply chain.

That means users of the Galaxy Note 9 would be able to unlock their phone by simply placing their finger on part of the screen.

That’s a feature that Apple tried to include in the forthcoming iPhone X, the Wall Street Journal previously reported. The iPhone X will instead have Face ID, a new facial recognition technology that takes advantage of custom 3D sensors. ‘Samples shipped already’

There are three companies vying to supply Samsung with the part that would enable an under-display fingerprint sensor, according to the KGI Securities.

Synaptics, an Apple supplier, is unlikely to be considered because Samsung will use a different technology that allows the OLED screen to double as a light source for the sensor, which results in better battery life.

Korean companies BeyondEyes and the Samsung subsidiary Samsung LSI have already shipped part samples to Samsung, according to the note. They’re the favorites to win the contract. Egis, which currently supplies standard fingerprint sensors to Samsung, may also be in the mix.

Samsung has included some facial recognition features in its devices, but its technology has been less advanced and easier to fool than Apple’s seems to be. Kuo previously said that Apple may have an 18 to 24-month advantage in 3D sensors.

So Samsung embracing the under-display fingerprint sensor may be a stop-gap until it can match Apple’s Face ID. Kuo believes that’s where the biometric technology industry is going.

He writes:
In our latest analysis of recent under-display optical fingerprint recognition industry developments, we see Korean suppliers and Synaptics as having better visibility among suppliers. With regard to the latest biometrics technologies, however, we favor the 3D sensing segment.

Both Samsung and Apple have been rumored to be working on this but failed to achieve it in time for their most recent handsets, pushing Samsung to move the scanner to a sub-optimal position on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, while Apple ditched it altogether from the iPhone X.

According to the previous report analysts at KGI Securities, who reckon the in-screen scanner won’t be ready in time for the Samsung Galaxy S9, but will be done for the Note 9. If it is, Samsung could retain the all-screen front of its phone while still having a conveniently positioned scanner.

An even more ambitious goal for the Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy X could be for it to have a bendable display. This is something Samsung’s been working on for even longer, and now Samsung’s president of mobile has said the company plans to launch such a phone next year.

However, that’s only if it can overcome certain unnamed problems, and if it does launch it may not be the Note 9 which has such a screen, though Samsung has been known to equip its Note phones with new and innovative technology in the past.

And a patent may have given us a glimpse at what the Note 9 will look like, as Samsung has published a phone design with a screen that curves at the right edge, but oddly not at the left.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was announced on August 23 and released in September, while the short-lived Samsung Galaxy Note 7 followed a similar schedule the previous year.

So there’s a good chance that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be announced in late August 2018, before hitting stores possibly in mid to late September.

When it does it’s sure to be expensive. The Galaxy Note 8 retails for $929 / £869 / AU$1,499 and we can’t see Samsung lowering the price for the Note 9, especially now Apple has pushed smartphone prices even higher with its iPhone X.

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