Samsung is planning to ditch the physical home button and replace it with the optical fingerprint scanner for the upcoming Galaxy S8.
Recently, the manufacturing partner of Samsung, Synaptics, has announced an optical fingerprint scanner. Is this a coincidence or a confirmation of the rumors regarding the replacement of the physical home buttons.
Sensor from Synaptics
Synaptics is the manufacturing partner of Samsung, and the former has recently revealed the sensor to be used for its smartphones. This could actually offer a clue regarding the fingerprint scanner supposed to be used on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8, a flagship device from Samsung to be released in early 2017.
An optical sensor for fingerprints can be placed beneath the display of the phone and under the glass. This eliminates the necessity for more bezels. Another advantage of the technology is that the phone gets more screen and reduced bezel within the same space. This can be connected to another rumor about the Galaxy S8, which states that the new flagship device will come with a display that is almost full screen.
Similar to Samsung
The optical sensor that has been announced by Synaptics is very similar to what Samsung might be attempting. The Synaptics sensor is called Natural ID FS9100 and can remain beneath the glass of devices, such as smartphones or tabs. It is waterproof as well as scratchproof and comes with a layer of security that is capable of distinguishing between real human fingers and fake ones. This was a problem with earlier optical scanners. The Synaptics optical scanner is extremely thin and also makes use of very little power from the battery.
Releasing in Q2
It is not sure whether the optical sensor announced by Synaptics is the same as the one that Samsung is rumored to be using for the upcoming Galaxy S8. The FS9100 sensor from Synaptics is to be mass-produced in the second quarter of 2017. In case Samsung is trying to delay the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8, so that it can avoid mistakes made with the by now extinct Galaxy Note 7, it is possible that the timelines for both the devices could be matched up.
However, when Samsung was asked about whether it would incorporate the optical sensor announced by Synaptic, the company refused to comment.
Ditching Physical Buttons
Samsung is not the only company that is being rumored to ditch the physical home button and opt for an optical fingerprint scanner. It is rumored that even Apple is planning on releasing the iPads for 2017 without home buttons and with very small borders surrounding the display. Microsoft as well as Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer of Mi Mix fame, is also planning on following suit.
However, there are smartphone manufacturers having a trademark homescreen button. If they wish to get free and achieve a near full display on the phone, they will need to find another spot for fingerprint sensors. It might be possible to incorporate it inside the screen or in some other location of the smartphone, such as the back or the side of the device.