FORTUNE -- Here's the challenge: To be incorporated as part of a regular start-up routine, fingerprint ID systems must be at least as easy and dependable as the pass codes they are meant to replace.
Which is why I finally gave up trying to use Apple's (AAPL) TouchID system on my iPhone 5S.
Not that I'm a good test case. After 64 years of paper cuts, match burns, scarring and general wear and tear, the ridges on my left thumb are nearly worn off. I have trouble registering my print on TouchID, and have to re-register it nearly every day or my iPhone will forget who I am. (I gather from the comments on Apple's support boards that I'm not the only one having these problems.)
I mention all this because a report Monday in SamMobile claims to have confirmed that Samsung's next flagship smartphone -- the Galaxy S5 -- will not only feature a fingerprint recognition system like Apple's, but one that will work better than TouchID.
"Apple and HTC have already implemented fingerprint sensors into their devices," writes SamMobile's FaryaabS, "but none of their mobile devices use the sensor to its full potential, or like how Samsung is using in its upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5."
I can't dispute this. There are hundreds of competing fingerprint recognition systems -- 670 participants registered 2,810 algorithms in this year's Fingerprint Verification Contest -- and we don't know which (if any) Samsung is using.
But when Apple purchased AuthenTec for $356 million in July 2012 -- more than it paid for any acquisition since NeXT -- the biometric company was the world's No. 1 provider of fingerprint verification systems. Its clients included Nokia, LG, HP, Motorola and Samsung.
Even then, Apple waited more than a year before it was ready to put a fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S.
It's possible that Samsung's technology is way ahead of Apple's. But given the timing, it feels like they're playing catch-up.
UPDATE: I received many suggestions for how to improve my TouchID experience, almost all of which I had already tried. Repeatedly. But I hadn't heard of Steve Gibson's "overtraining" technique (explained step by step here). It's quick and, so far (24 hours later), pretty effective. Fingers crossed.
Leaked photos of the new home button hardware don't look much like the old.
FORTUNE -- Ever since July 2012, when Apple (AAPL) acquired AuthenTec for $356 million, Apple watchers have assumed that AuthenTec's fingerprint recognition technology would some day find its way into the home button of the company's iOS devices.
It hasn't happened yet, but the chances that we'll see some form of fingerprint recognition in one or both of the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 5, 2013 10:44 AM ET
A highly anticipated fall announcement from Apple could bring some of the long-awaited upgrades that fans and investors have been calling for.
FORTUNE -- Fall holds different meanings for different people, but for many technorati, this September will likely see the unveiling of another all-new iPhone. Indeed, next month's news may prove more newsworthy than years past if some of the speculation is right. Will Apple (AAPL) finally introduce a new, MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Aug 19, 2013 5:00 AM ET
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