Pantech has just revealed another one of this smartphones from the “Secrete” series, called Secrete Up, that comes with a fingerprint sensor and side-snooping protection (harder to see what’s on the screen from the side) as its special features. It also has a 5.6″ 1080p screen, Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, 13 MP camera, LTE-Adanced radio and a 3150 mAh battery. The price has not been revealed but it will probably cost about as much as the Secrete Note ($839 in Korea).
We’re beginning to see more smartphones come with fingerprint sensors, which I think generally is a good thing – but only as long as it’s done in a super-secure way. Unfortunately, so far I haven’t seen that yet with Android smartphones, and we may not see it until the FIDO Alliance finalizes the standard protocol for this type of authentication features.
Right now only Apple seems to have done this right, but it remains to be seen what they plan to do with it in the future. If in the future they turn that fingerprint authentication from a local feature to a cloud-based one that needs to store your fingerprint in Apple’s servers in order for it to work with Apple’s online services, then I’d be a lot more worried about Apple’s implementation, too. But for now, it seems to be secure enough, used only to authenticate yourself when turning on the phone.
For Android smarthpones, I’d wait until their fingerprint sensors are compatible with the FIDO standard, at the very least (we still don’t know how that will work in practice either, and how secure it will be, but at least it holds some promise for a standard that all Android devices could use in the future (which means you could log in to services or apps from any Android devices, as long as they are FIDO compatible. Until then we’re probably stuck with everyone using their own proprietary fingerprint standard that works in a different way from others.