No Fingerprint Sensor For HTC One M8, Does This Mean No Biometrics?

“Before the release of the disruptive Apple iPhone 5S, research experts were convinced that these biometric SDKs would be the heralds of ubiquitous strong mobile ID. It appears that time is proving them at least partially right.”

Today the Internet is abuzz with early reviews of the newest smartphone from Taiwanese handset maker HTC: the HTC One M8. The device is being well received, with Wired.com’s Matthew Honan rating it 8/10 after a thorough field test at Disneyland.

“Some of the new software are mere gimmicks, but in the time I spent testing it, I came away more pleased than puzzled,” he wrote.

Those looking through the reviews and announcements today are perhaps going to be slightly perplexed, however, by some perceived backpedaling on the part of HTC. The company’s newest smartphone, unlike 2013’s HTC One Max, does not have an embedded biometric fingerprint scanner.

HTC-OneM8

The HTC One M8 is by all accounts an improvement on the previous iteration, but does it’s lack of a fingerprint sensor mean it’s without strong authentication?

It is a surprise to say the least, as HTC’s biggest competitors, Apple and Samsung, both have the technology embedded into their flagship smartphones’ home buttons and are posturing to have fingerprint sensors as a major piece of each company’s mCommerce bid.

So, what is a loyal HTC customer to do if they demand post password mobile security? Jump ship and pre-order a Samsung Galaxy S5? Maybe get in line at their local Apple store and fly the flag of Touch ID?

The HTC One M8, is – by all accounts so far – a superior phone to its predecessor. It just doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor. Here is the saving grace: there are other biometric modalities that don’t require a new piece of biometric hardware to be added to what is already a robust arsenal of sensors in waiting.

There are a number of Android-ready software development kits on the market that can leverage either the front facing camera, the microphone or both to capture face, voice or eye based biometrics.

Before the release of the disruptive Apple iPhone 5S, research experts were convinced that these biometric SDKs would be the heralds of ubiquitous strong mobile ID. It appears that time is proving them at least partially right.

There are software solutions that can make the newest HTC smartphone a strong authentication mobile device despite its lack of fingerprint sensor. EyeVerify, for instance, can be installed on the Android device in order to limit access via Eyeprint: the vascular patterns on the side of a user’s eyeball. Software made with AGNITiO’s Voice iD engine can measure that user’s vocal biometrics as an authenticator that is nearly frictionless. There are even fingerprint authentication peripherals that operate on Bluetooth connectivity, so if a user is really set on protecting her phone with her unique hand digits, she can spring for one of those.

In the end, the HTC One M8 can be a reminder that the smartphone is a versatile device when it comes to just about everything, and that includes strong authentication. The lack of a fingerprint sensor, for whatever reason, does not limit its inclusion from the mCommerce future, all t does it give an opportunity for the various other modes of consumer mobile authentication to shine.