Samsung’s next Galaxy Note device will likely feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, according to a new note to investors from KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo.
The renowned analyst asserts that two compatriots of Samsung, BeyondEyes and Samsung subsidiary Samsung LSI, have already shipped samples to the company; meanwhile, Egis and California-based Synaptics are also enjoying “better visibility among suppliers,” but the latter’s solution is unlikely to be taken up by Samsung. Kuo’s note also says that the device will launch in the second half of 2018.
The speculation suggests that Samsung could get a leg up on its rival Apple, or at least catch up with it to some extent, on the technological front. Apple’s new Face ID facial recognition systems for the iPhone X has made some big waves, but the American company seems to have been forced to choose that system over its popular Touch ID fingerprint recognition feature after failing to integrate the latter into the iPhone’s display. Meanwhile, Samsung has been busy pioneering mobile iris recognition — a feature of both its Galaxy S8 devices from early this year, and the recently launched Note 8 — so combining that with an in-display fingerprint sensor would help to sell the Note 9 as a more technologically sophisticated option for consumers.
The speculation is also notable for what it leaves out. No mention is made of Qualcomm, despite the fact that that company seemed to be ahead of the competition in its expectation that it would deliver ultrasonic fingerprint sensor technology for in-display deployments to interested OEMs in the fourth quarter of this year. Ming-Chi Kuo’s note also eschews discussion of the Galaxy S9, despite rumors that Samsung is fast-tracking that device to market for early next year, a time when it could effectively cut into iPhone X sales and perhaps also take advantage of Qualcomm’s in-display sensor technology. And that could be an especially pressing matter for Samsung, given that the broader mobile industry — and Apple itself — appears to be waiting to see how consumers respond to Face ID before making big decisions about whether to focus resources on fingerprint scanning, face scanning, or both, where possible.
Nevertheless, Ming-Chi Kuo has previously proven himself to be a mostly reliable source of insider information in the APAC mobile market, despite his being one of a chorus of voices previously predicting that one of this year’s new iPhones would feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, and so his prediction for the Note 9 should be taken seriously, if not taken as a certainty. As for the Galaxy S9, it’s still anybody’s guess what technologies that device will support, but it’s fair to say Samsung will either need to make a strong technological pitch to compete against the iPhone X, or at least make sure its next flagship device is much more affordable.