If an exclusive report from tech publication SamMobile is accurate, then it appears that tech giant Samsung is preparing to add yet another form of biometric authentication to its next flagship smartphone release.
According to the Samsung-focused news site, the upcoming Galaxy S21 will add the ability for users to unlock their smartphones using their voice and the Bixby personal assistant. Though the feature won’t be exclusive to the S21 — which is expected to be released sometime early on in the first quarter of 2021 — it will be the first in Samsung’s lineup to have it, and will come as part of the update One UI 3.1 OS.
The addition of voice unlock to the S21’s already expected biometric modalities of fingerprint authentication — via an ultrasonic under-screen fingerprint sensor — and facial recognition looks to make the much-anticipated smartphone a truly multimodal device. There are some concerns however, over how secure the voice biometrics system will be. Samsung is still facing backlash for its handling of problems that plagued its fingerprint authentication on previous devices.
The S21 won’t be the first flagship smartphone to give its users the option of using their voice to unlock their phone. Google offered a similar functionality though its Google Assistant, but decided to discontinue the feature in 2018 due to concerns over how secure it was.
2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for smartphones and biometric authentication, with both Apple and Google deciding to ditch facial recognition in favor of less expensive fingerprint sensors for the lower cost entries in their respective smartphone lineups.