Fingerprint scanners 'a growing smartphone feature'

05 December 2013

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

Fingerprint scanners may become a more common feature in smart phone devices.

Reuters reports Swedish firm Fingerprint Cards is aiming to sell its technology to various manufacturers across the world..

It is one of a few specialists in this technology, as competitor Synaptics was purchased by Validity and AuthenTec now belongs to Apple.

The iPhone 5S, launched in September this year, became the first phone to come with a fingerprint touch sensor, which could be used to confirm user identity and prevent unauthorised access.

Chief executive officer for Fingerprint Cards Johan Carlstrom said: "I think at least seven or eight will launch a phone with a touch sensor in 2014."

This development raises the issue of security in smartphones, especially as the devices grow in popularity across the globe. Since passwords and pin codes can be exploited, more specific safety measures, such as fingerprints, can help maintain better protection.

As an alternative, news this week suggests developer Samsung has filed a patent for a form of eye recognition in its upcoming phones. This would add iris scanning functionality to the device and would work in the same fashion as fingerprint scanning, locking people out of the phone until the correct fingerprint/iris is given.

While these innovations seem to be the way forward for mobile technology, by gaining access to biometric data rather than character-based passwords, it may not prove a perfect system. The benefit of this new approach is the inability to lose access as easily, since codes can be forgotten yet fingerprints and eyes are readily available to the user, the potential to copy this information is relatively unknown.

Irises, for instance, may prove more difficult but a fingerprint is essentially an image. Replicating this is still possible, albeit more difficult than copying a password.

Fingerprint Cards has already developed a cheaper version of its scanner, which swipes fingerprints, and has contracts with Fujitsu, Konka and Pantech to supply this.

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