Samsung Adds Biometrics to Latest Phone
In an announcement made at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung have shown its latest baby off to the world – the Galaxy S5. Amongst the smartphone’s other improved features, excited chatter is mainly about the introduction of biometric security.
Biometric security is the application of science and technology used to measure and analyse biological data, which, in the instance of the S5, involves a fingerprint scanner built into the front main button on the smartphone.
According to Samsung’s announcement, the fingerprint scanner can unlock the phone, in a similar way to that of the iPhone 5 by Apple. But awe-inspired applause was provoked by the ability to use the scanner to power PayPal payments in stores that use e-payment company’s mobile system. Instead of having to remember log-in details and passwords, customers need only use the fingerprint scanner on their S5 to authorise a payment. This, according to Samsung, will make the whole shopping experience safer and more seamless than ever before.
Eden Zoller, a principal analyst at Ovum which is an independent analyst firm, explained that some customers might be wary about using the new technology because of security reasons. But according to PayPal, the only user information exchanged between them and the phone would be an encrypted key used to identify the user’s fingerprint, so there shouldn’t be any worries about customer information leaks. “Samsung is a hugely popular smartphone brand… PayPal is a trusted payments service provider,” explained Zoller. “This is a powerful combination.”
Another use for the fingerprint scanner would be to store and access sensitive information in “private mode”.
The Galaxy S5 can also boast a fresh approach to battery-life saving with its black-and-white mode. When in this mode, the amount of battery power being used to function the screen will be limited and all features will be disabled except for the important ones, like calls or texts.
Some of the ‘expected’ upgrades to the smartphone include a dust and water-resistant shell, like that of the Sony Xperia Z2, extended battery life, and 16-megapixel camera. For those users who like to (try and) keep fit, there is a pedometer and heart rate monitor built in, as well as diet and exercise records. And what about faster downloads? The S5 can combine the speeds of both 4G and WiFi for super fast data downloads.
“Samsung appears to have cherry picked the most crowd-pleasing features available from other manufacturers,” said Ernest Doku of uSwitch.com.
Ovum analyst Nick Dillon suggested that Samsung also quashed a number of rumours that had been circling about the Galaxy S5, by omitting them from the announcement. “These included suggestions at both ends of the scale – that the device would be running Tizen OS and that it would be using a ‘pure’ Google version of Android,” he explained.
If you so desire, from April you will be able to get your hands on a Samsung Galaxy S5, and it will cost around £550.