Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is likely to lack an in-screen fingerprint reader, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a recent note to investors seen by 9to5Google. The same industry watcher correctly predicted the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will also miss out on such a technology which Samsung has reportedly been actively trying to commercialize for over two years now. The development still marks a change of heart for Mr. Kuo who believed the Galaxy Note 9 will feature an in-display fingerprint sensor back in October. The analyst now expects Samsung to drop the idea over "technological difficulties," indicating the South Korean tech giant may still be trying to integrate the scanner into the phablet's display.
Samsung first seriously considered commercial implementations of optical fingerprint readers and other technologies that would allow for in-screen authentication in 2016 when it was developing the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, according to previous reports. Ever since then, the company is said to have faced issues with yield rates and compatibility with screen protectors, in addition to being unable to develop a solution whose consistency and accuracy is comparable to that of more traditional fingerprint readers. Mr. Kuo doesn't expect Samsung to successfully address those difficulties before 2019, as per his latest research note.
The Galaxy S9 lineup that's already shipping to some customers is Samsung's third product family with rear-mounted fingerprint readers, albeit it repositions such scanners below the cameras of its devices so as to make them easier to reach. In-display scanners have already been successfully commercialized by Chinese phone maker Vivo whose X20 Plus UD mid-ranger features such a technology, though initial reviews suggest its overall performance is inferior to that of more traditional solutions. While speaking on the sidelines of this year's MWC 2018 trade show, Samsung's mobile chief DJ Koh said the company isn't as adamant to pursue industry firsts anymore as much as it's committed to making sure the new technologies it ends up implementing into its devices are maximally beneficial to consumers. Regardless, Samsung is widely expected to become the world's first manufacturer to deliver a truly foldable smartphone by 2019.