Compared to the other big name manufacturers out there, Samsung has been shipping devices with fingerprint sensors since the Galaxy S5 (pictured above) and with the Galaxy S7, they’ve perfected things even further. Samsung weren’t the first to launch an Android phone with a fingerprint sensor though, as that honor goes to Motorola and the Atrix, a device that was truly ahead of its time. As fingerprint sensors have only been officially supported by Android since Android 6.0 Marshmallow, released just last Fall, Samsung devices with fingerprint sensors have been limited to few apps outside of Samsung’s own that take advantage of the new functionality. With the Galaxy S7 however, this has changed.
Today, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge go on sale all over the world, and they’re launching with Android 6.0.1 running under-the-hood. Thankfully, Samsung have chosen to include support for the official Marshmallow fingerprint API with the Galaxy S7 duo, which means that these two new devices have access to the widest range of apps that support fingerprint sensors. To be clear, Samsung made it fairly easy for developers to include support for the new hardware through an API of their own, but few developers adopted this, compared to the amount that adopted the Marshmallow implementation. This makes the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge a hell of a lot more useful than it has been in previous generations, and should allow for secure payment through not just Samsung Pay, but also Android Pay, too.
Not only is this another nice example of how flexible Android can be, but also an example of how to add new hardware before Google adopts it properly. The OnePlus 2 is a classic case here, as it might feature a fingerprint sensor, but as it doesn’t run Marshmallow there are very, very few apps out there that can even take advantage of it. We suppose we should be thankful for the secure unlock method in the first place, but OnePlus 2 users – as well as other device owners – will be jealous of all the new tricks that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge can do.