The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus may feature a notch on the bottom of their display panels which would house a fingerprint recognition sensor, as suggested by a recent design patent that Samsung filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPRIS). The sole existence of the patent doesn't guarantee it will ever be commercialized, let alone that it will find its way to the Galaxy S9 lineup specifically, but any technology Samsung uses in its upcoming Android flagship series will have to be patented prior to launching early next year. The newly uncovered patent was just made public on Monday after Samsung initially submitted it for review in April 2016.
The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus have been the subjects of numerous rumors and reports in recent months, with some insiders claiming that neither device will have an on-screen fingerprint scanner that Samsung has been developing for several years now but still isn't capable of commercializing due to a number of technological limitations and yield rates that are supposedly deemed too low for reliable flow production. The fingerprint reader placement has been one of the rare complaints consumers and reviewers had about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, with the Galaxy Note 8 introducing more space between the rear-mounted sensor and its dual-camera setup but still not debuting any radical redesigns. With recent reports suggesting that Samsung won't be able to mass-produce any handsets with optical fingerprint sensors before the Galaxy Note 9 is set to hit the market, it's possible that the company is trying to do what it can to reposition the scanner on the Galaxy S9-series devices despite the technological constraints it's presently said to be facing.
The hypothetical product described by the vague patent would have a screen with a small cutout similar to the one found on the top of the Essential PH-1, with the opening itself being on the bottom of its front panel. While the solution would not be as elegant as an on-screen fingerprint reader, it could serve as a stop-gap between rear-mounted sensors and optical ones that Samsung is hoping to deliver in the second half of 2018.