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Samsung Galaxy S9 might get an improved iris scanner: Report

Samsung Galaxy S9's iris scanner is expected to support banking transactions and will work better in dark or too bright environments.

  • Published: December 12, 2017 10:59 AM IST
Samsung iris scanning cover

Samsung is planning to improve the iris scanner with the launch of its next flagship Galaxy smartphone. The Galaxy S9, slated to debut early next year, will feature an improved iris scanner that better recognize users’ eyes.

Biometric authentication involving iris or face is becoming new standard among smartphone makers. With the improved iris scanner for Galaxy S9, Samsung believes it can offer a secure biometric authentication for banking transactions as well. The details emerge amidst reports saying iris scanner on Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8 can easily be fooled with a photograph.

The iris recognition works by identifying the irises of an individual’s eyes, which have unique and complex patterns and are stable enough to be seen from a distance. According to The Korea Herald, Samsung is planning to add an improved camera lens and functions to make the iris scanner work better.

On the Galaxy S9, Samsung will use an improved 3MP camera lens as opposed 2MP sensor found on Galaxy S8 and Note8. The improved camera lens will enable the iris scanner to recognize users’ irises even when they wear eyeglasses or are in extremely dark or too light environment. Samsung is also planning to reduce the response time to less than one second with its next Galaxy flagship.

Apart from hardware, Samsung is also planning to develop software that can more accurately and safely recognize Galaxy S9 users’ irises. With the focus on replacing physical banking with mobile banking, the South Korean smartphone maker is planning to bring iris recognition to its mid-range smartphones as well by the end of next year.

Apple debuted Face ID with the launch of iPhone X as a way to replace Touch ID and has deeply integrated the facial recognition system with its mobile payment service. Samsung is following on the Cupertino giant’s footsteps to accelerate the use of biometric authentication beyond unlocking smart devices.

Samsung is also planning to allow users to authenticate users via iris or fingerprint recognition on Samsung Pay, its mobile payment and digital wallet service. Samsung Pay allows users to pay for services with their smartphone and users can also send or withdraw money from bank accounts. In order to increase adoption, Samsung has partnered local banks like Shinhan, Woori, IBK, NH and Busan to allow mobile banking transactions through biometric verification in Korea.

“If security is more guaranteed by smartphone makers like Samsung, we are willing to more actively use the biometric authentication in the future,” a Woori Bank official told The Korea Herald.

LG Electronics is also planning to introduce iris scanning with the launch of its flagship G7 smartphone. The iris scanner on G7 is said to work not only for unlocking the device but also protect sensitive information.

Samsung’s biggest hurdle will be to mitigate the concern among consumers who don’t see iris and other facial recognition systems as foolproof. Samsung’s iris scanner on existing Galaxy phones have been fooled with the help of black and white photograph in the past. While Samsung claimed it to be unrealistic, it needs to prove it to be impossible with the next version of iris scanner.

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  • Published Date: December 12, 2017 10:59 AM IST