Despite having its hopes dashed on too many occasions, Samsung is still working hard at getting a virtual fingerprint sensor into a future handset. The problem is, it doesn't appear to be going well.Credit: Tom's GuideSamsung has told its manufacturing partners that it will not bake a virtual fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy Note 9 it has planned for later this year, The Bell is reporting, citing sources who claim to have knowledge of those discussions. Instead, Samsung has said that it will keep the physical fingerprint sensor on the back of its handset. SamMobile earlier discovered the report.
Samsung has been working for years on a virtual fingerprint sensor that it could bake into the handset's display. The feature would replace the physical sensor you'd find in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, but would still provide biometric support so you can unlock the handset and verify purchases through the virtual sensor.
Samsung had hoped to bake the sensor into the Galaxy S8's display last year, but ultimately discovered that it didn't work well. The company reportedly scrambled to replace it with a physical sensor that it placed next to the rear-facing camera. The placement, which was chosen for both the Galaxy S8 line and Galaxy Note 8, was roundly criticized.
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The technology is definitely out there. In fact, we've already gone hands-on with a phone from Vivo with an in-display fingerprint sensor made by Synaptics. And it worked great. Unfortunately, it's not available in the U.S.
Later last year, Samsung was said to be working on the virtual sensor again in hopes of bringing it to the Galaxy S9 it'll unveil on Feb. 25. But again, those efforts failed and Samsung has decided to stick with the physical sensor. This time, however, the sensor will sit below the rear camera instead of next to it.
There had been some hope that Samsung would finally bring the sensor to the Galaxy Note 9, but The Bell's report suggests that's been dashed. And it's unclear whether Samsung will even try to deliver a virtual sensor in any of its future devices. In addition to a physical sensor, Samsung's smartphones come with face scanners and iris scanners.
According to The Bell, Samsung has requested the Galaxy Note 9 enter mass production in June and is slated for a launch sometime in August.