Samsung has launched a new iris scanning tablet specifically designed for use with India’s Aadhaar program.
Aadhaar is a national ID project with a biometric registry of citizens at its core. Part of a larger ‘Digital India’ initiative, it’s increasingly being used by government agencies for a range of purposes, from time and attendance tracking for public servants to the disbursement of subsidies. There are even efforts underway to connect it to connect it to digital banking on a large scale.
Given Samsung’s efforts in mPayments as well as its embrace of biometric authentication via fingerprint scanning on its recent smartphones, its involvement in Aadhaar with the new Galaxy Tab Iris makes a lot of sense. Announcing the device, which was developed by an R&D team in Bangalore, Samsung asserted that the device will be used to facilitate “cashless and paperless services in applications such as banking, apart from e-governance services such as passport, taxation, healthcare, and education.”
Interestingly, the device doesn’t run on Android Marshmallow, the first Android OS to feature native fingerprint scanning support; but Samsung says it will soon upgrade to that OS from its current Android Lollipop 5.1. In any case, Marshmallow isn’t needed to enable the Galaxy Tab Iris’s iris scanning functionality, and the device will protect the biometric data with Samsung Knox security.
Samsung is launching the device along with SDK’s for third-party developers, and is aiming it strictly at the government and enterprise sectors. And given that there are now a billion people enrolled in Aadhaar, the device could make a big impact in the national ID system.