Last September, Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled the iPhone 5S, the first smartphone to feature a 64-bit mobile application processor and a biometric sensor that can read a user's fingerprint, which functions as a password. Though the merits of the 64-bit A7 chip have been debated (see Michael Comeau's story on the new chip, here
), the idea of a smartphone fingerprint scanner seemed to catch on, with major Apple competitor Samsung
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) also reportedly working on the technology for its next phone, the Galaxy S5.
Now, Samsung may be skipping the fingerprint scanner and Touch ID way of doing things by developing something to not only match Apple's technology, but trump it. As Samsung mobile executive Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg
in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Expo yesterday, "Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology. We are studying the possibility, but can't really say whether we will have it or not on the S5."
In addition to incorporating new biometric sensors, whether they be of the fingerprint or iris variety, Samsung will also give the S5 a completely new design to differentiate it from models that have come before. In the same interview, Lee explained, "When we moved to S4 from S3, it's partly true that consumers couldn't really feel much difference between the two products from the physical perspective, so the market reaction wasn't as big."
The S5 is expected to be released in March or April of this year, and its official announcement is likely to be made at the Mobile World Congress, to be held in Barcelona next month. By then we'll know if Samsung is playing catch-up, or playing one-up.
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