After failed attempts at getting an in-screen fingerprint sensor to work on its smartphones, Samsung has since clung to physical sensors. Now, though, a new Samsung patent has surfaced that sheds some light on how the feature might work if it ever finds its way to future handsets.
The folks over at 91Mobiles this week uncovered a Samsung patent filing that describes how the feature would work. According to the patent, there would be an area at the bottom of the screen that would accept a touch input. You'd simply place your finger on the bottom of the screen and a touch icon would be displayed.
As the fingerprint sensor is reading your finger, Samsung's patent said that the icon might change its color or brightness. It will then check the sensor reading against the biometric data it already has on hand and verify your identity. If it all checks out, the phone will open, you'll be able to make mobile payments, open secure apps, and more.
Samsung has been working on an in-screen fingerprint sensor for years. There had been some hope that the company would bundle the feature in the Galaxy S8, but it ultimately faced manufacturing problems that forced it to nix the idea. Samsung had then been tipped to bring it to the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9, but again faced the same problems.
Now, it's believed that Samsung is working on the feature for the Galaxy Note 9 or even next year's Galaxy S10, but it's unclear whether the company will have the ability to access enough components to match its supply demands.
A source told 91Mobiles that Samsung is indeed working on the virtual sensor in the Galaxy Note 9 and has been testing it. Whether it will be able to get it to work and get enough supply, though, is unknown. And if reports are accurate that Samsung wants to push up the Galaxy Note 9's launch to July to fend off lower-than-expected demand for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, the company might have less time to actually get it right.
Look for much more on this and other Galaxy Note 9 rumors in the coming months as we inch closer to its launch this summer.