Samsung Electronics is rolling out software updates that shall improve the performance of the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor of the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+ after several users complained of inaccuracies in authenticating their fingerprints. Qualcomm supplied the ultrasonic fingerprint sensors used by Samsung on its flagship smartphones, and these modules use ultrasound to detect the blood flow and map the different features of the finger. Supposedly, ultrasonic fingerprint sensors should offer better accuracy and improved detection speed compared to the optical fingerprint sensors used by other manufacturers like Huawei and OnePlus, but recent complaints show that there are still some bugs that the South Korean tech giant has to fix with this feature.
According to complaints posted by users online, the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor often fails when making transactions using financial apps. An executive from Samsung admitted that there are several occasions that the fingerprint reader may fail, including when the user is in a dry environment or when the finger of the person is injured. However, the company claims that it will release updates that would improve biometric authentication accuracy. The first software update that the tech giant rolled out to the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+ already included performance fixes to the handsets’ in-display fingerprint sensor.
Background: The Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+ are the first smartphones to sport ultrasonic fingerprint sensors, and while it is more secure than the optical sensors used in other handsets, there are limitations to the functionality of the fingerprint readers. Aside from the situations enumerated by a Samsung executive wherein the Galaxy S10’s fingerprint reader may not work, the ultrasonic fingerprint sensors of the two devices are not compatible with the majority of screen protectors made from tempered glass.
Aside from problems with biometric authentication, another issue raised by the buyers of the Galaxy S10 is that some of the products ship in unsealed boxes and this problem is experienced both by users who purchased unlocked and carrier-branded models of Samsung’s latest flagship. While none of the reports claim that items are missing from the unsealed boxes, carriers have advised users affected by this issue to request replacements from the nearest branches of the service providers.
Despite launch issues, industry analysts expect that the Galaxy S10 lineup will sell better than initially expected, with one industry insider increasing his estimates of Galaxy S10 shipments by as much as 30-percent. Experts suggest several reasons why the Galaxy S10 will fare better in the markets, and one of these reasons is the handset’s in-display fingerprint sensor, which allows the smartphone to differentiate itself from the competition.
Samsung launched the Galaxy S10 series late last month, and interested consumers may choose among the three available models, which include the cheaper Galaxy S10e, the Galaxy S10, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. Unlike the Galaxy S10 and the S10 Plus, the Galaxy S10e does not feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, and it instead sports a side-mounted fingerprint reader. The pricing for the Galaxy S10 starts at $749, while the Galaxy S10 Plus ships with a price tag of around $1000.
Impact: Despite the best efforts of manufacturers, it is often inevitable for the first implementations of new technologies to experience performance issues once the devices are released. However, Samsung has promised that it will fix these concerns, and the release of the first software update within a week after the handsets’ launch indicates that the South Korean tech giant is working to resolve this issue.