As smartphone makers scramble to adopt new identification technologies to counter Apple's new iPhone 5S Touch ID fingerprint feature, Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG are expected to soon sign deals with Fingerprint Cards, a Swedish company that specializes in fingerprint verification systems.
Korean sources were told by the CEO of Fingerprint Cards, Johan Carlstrom, that "All tier-1 OEMs will have smartphones with either touch or swipe sensors during 2014 or early 2015." Tier-1 OEMs are major partners in a supply chain to which a firm directly supplies its products.
Carlstrom declined to specify who its partners were due to non-discloser agreements but noted that their company has "continuous dialogue with all of the most important OEMs globally." Yet according to market watchers, the tier-1 clients of the Swedish firm likely include Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.
After Apple Inc. adopted area-type fingerprint technology on its latest iPhone 5S smartphones this year, rumors have circulated that other major smartphone makers, including Korean companies, would follow suit.
Korea's third-largest mobile maker Pantech has already installed swipe fingerprint technology, developed by Fingerprint Cards, in its VEGA lineup.
Some Korean market analysts, however, continue to cast doubt on whether fingerprint scanning would soon appear on smartphones made by Samsung and LG next year. A recent Samsung patent filing with the US Patent Office shows that Samsung is also researching the use of retina scanning, but it may be a little early to bank on that in the short term.
Carlstrom went on to predict that most major smartphone manufacturers would feature new fingerprint recognition technology, saying "I don't believe any major OEM will skip fingerprint technology."
Carlstrom added that multi-biometric technology maybe introduced eventually, hinting that people would be able to see mobile gadgets with more than one recognition technology, such as iris, retina, or voice recognition, by 2016. Carlstrom strongly believes that "fingerprint is the most convenient and intuitive when it comes to mobile devices."
On the flipside, Song Jong-ho, a senior analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities stated that "Fingerprint technology is still not fully stable in terms of recognition accuracy. I do not expect Samsung or LG smartphones that are scheduled to be released next year, including the Galaxy S5, to be equipped with the fingerprint recognition function."