How Android beat iOS to fingerprint unlock, and why it didn’t work

On Tuesday, Apple announced the iPhone 5S (and iPhone 5C), giving us a look at one of the more significant “S” upgrades we’ve seen from them. A faster processor, new camera tech, a revamped version of iOS 7 — it’s all there. One other interesting thing they included was a fingerprint scanner that is actually embedded into the iconic Home button.

Dubbed the “Touch ID” scanner, this thing introduces a new element of security for Apple users. It gives them the ability to do things like use it as an alternate unlocking mechanism to gain access to the entire phone or authorize App Store purchases, all with the swipe of a finger.

iphone-5s-home-button-600x271

But did you know that the iPhone 5S wasn’t the first mobile device with a fingerprint scanner? Nope! That honor belongs to the HP iPaq PPC 5500, a PocketPC device from 2003. For a more modern device, look no further than the Motorola Atrix 4G, a 2011 Android phone that was pretty exciting for its time. Unfortunately, fingerprint scanners in phones never quite took off (as evidenced by the lack of new phones with fingerprint scanners embedded).

So why not? It’s interesting enough for Apple — a company who still hasn’t even adopted the likes of NFC — so why hasn’t anyone else stepped up to the plate since then? Let’s explore it a bit, but first we’ll have to revisit the Motorola ATRIX 4G and figure out where things went wrong.

Motorola ATRIX 4G Fingerprint Scanner

The Motorola ATRIX 4G’s fingerprint scanner was used for unlocking your device. That’s it. It was an easy way to bypass the pin lock (which would be setup if you opted to use a fingerprint unlock in the first place). Its location on the back/top of the device was a natural home for it considering how most folks tend to hold their phones. With that, the scanner essentially had just one function.

Why it failed to catch on

moto-atrix-fingerprint

It failed to catch on because Motorola decided not to do more with it. That’s what’s so interesting about Apple’s announcement on Tuesday — they made us see how this technology could be used in new, more abstract ways to make it more useful to the common consumer. We always wonder why Apple gets a lot of credit for doing things when they weren’t, in fact, the first to do them.

The fact of the matter is that Apple often does a lot of things “right” first. For instance, as someone who doesn’t store sensitive files on his phone I personally didn’t really need a fingerprint scanner to protect the entirety of my device. As such, it became a novelty on the Atrix 4G — little more than a cool parlor trick to show friends and get them to “ooh” and “ahh” at the wonders of advanced tech.

However, I did like the idea of being able to protect certain functions such as downloading apps or encrypting pictures. This fine-tuned functionality is not something that Motorola did. Why? We’re not sure.

Perhaps it was just a technical limitation of having to work with a third-party operating system like Android at the time. Sure, Motorola could implement fingerprint encryption at a system-wide level, but they couldn’t add that to the (then) Android Market app themselves, nor could they add functionality for the hundreds of thousands of apps sitting in there.

Apple doesn’t have that problem, of course, because they create both the software and all the hardware for their own ecosystem. Google could have whipped up some “fingerprint scanner APIs” for Android, sure, but there really wasn’t a point with only one phone with the technology on the market.

Mind you, this is only one man’s take. I’m sure there were tons of other Atrix 4G owners who valued the fingerprint scanner a lot more. A whole boatload of folks were gushing about it back then in the Atrix 4G section at AndroidForums.com. But for those like me, it was no less trouble than drawing a simple pattern or inputting a four digit unlock code using the touch screen, and it ultimately just got in the way.

Privacy concerns

Things aren’t all peachy with Apple right now, though. The Cupertino company introduced more than just interesting new uses for the scanner. This wasn’t an overblown issue back when the Atrix 4G first launched, but some folks are being resistant to fingerprint scanners for an entirely different reason now than they were for the Atrix 4G — privacy.

fingerprint-scanner

With all of the noise that has been made about FISA orders for subscriber information and with companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft and all the carriers being asked to fork over data about large amounts of people, some are skeptical about the whole thing. Just imagine the NSA trying to nudge Apple to give up the goods:

“Put your finger here so we can have a legit way to identify you should we need to spy on you!”

It’s scary stuff, even if Apple does assure us that encryption keys for fingerprint images are only being stored within the device at the hardware level, and not on any remote server. While we don’t want to believe that Apple would ever stoop so low (they’re not that evil, guys), some people are bound to have doubts in the back of their mind when they’re deciding whether or not to use the fingerprint scanner.

Past events have shown us that the government has the power to obtain consumer data from these companies, though we’re not sure they would have the legal right to force someone like Apple to store encryption keys on a remote server just so they can have them forked over anytime they want. That said, the government has definitely shown it has a tendency to “persuade” these big information companies to provide backdoor access to certain pieces of information about consumers under the guise of national security.

That much was made apparent with all the information leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who made the world privy to government data collection programs such as PRISM, Tempora, and an exhaustive NSA calls database. With that, you have to wonder whether Apple is telling the truth — who’s to say they’re not lying in order to protect some sort of confidentiality clause they must legally adhere to?

So many details about the situation are being kept from us that even Google and Microsoft have said enough is enough. The two companies — who are pretty much mortal enemies in the tech space — have gone as far as banding together to sue the NSA for the right to share more information about FISA, as well as various other programs in place the government uses to request records about consumers.

back-door[We] believe it is vital to publish information that clearly shows the number of national security demands for user content, such as the text of an email.  These figures should be published in a form that is distinct from the number of demands that capture only metadata such as the subscriber information associated with a particular email address.

Indeed, with consumers starting to wonder how far is too far when it comes to the balance of violating basic civil liberties vs doing what it takes to ensure national security, companies want to tread carefully. Marissa Mayer, the former Google exec enjoying her new post as CEO of Yahoo, spoke about the issue at TechCrunch disrupt.

She revealed that companies are often strong-armed into complying with these requests following the result of a lawsuit against a new clause or bill that they don’t agree with. Should they lose the lawsuit, they have two choices — comply, or be charged with treason.

Ouch.  The bigger question becomes a lot more important — can the government force Apple to implement a way to collect data about the fingerprint information that is captured whenever iPhone 5S users set the mechanism up? It’s something we can’t answer ourselves, so we’ve reached out to our legal friend Jay Klimek to see if we can get a clear answer.

And therein lies the most damning “quality” of the fingerprint scanner. It’ll add some useful features, but to what extent? At what cost? How does a company tread the line between usability/features and government pressure? One wrong move, one big expose, or one big whistleblower can move the needle of public perception so much that only the biggest companies can survive the inevitable lashing that would soon follow.

The CarrierIQ Debacle

It all reminds us of the CarrierIQ debacle of 2011. If you don’t remember, CarrierIQ is the company which many OEMs and carriers were using to collect various pieces of information about everything you do with your phone.

From keystrokes to information about who you’re calling and where you’re going, CarrierIQ was hoarding an alarming amount of sensitive information for no good reason. This was going on for years, apparently, and we didn’t know anything about it until crafty developers stumbled upon it in their daily tinkering sessions. Aside from the fact that Apple’s OS is completely closed-source, who’s to say the same can’t happen in regards to this fingerprint scanner?

carrier-iq-1201-1322737551

The company claimed they were only using the data to help carriers and OEMs improve their products, though their unwillingness to release any details about what they did with the data prompted much scrutiny. In fact, they were in such hot water that federal investigations were launched to make sure they weren’t mishandling the data or doing anything they were supposed to be doing.

Carriers and OEMs quickly worked to make sure their phones and tablets were devoid of any traces of CarrierIQ, with the short-term bad press brought about by that episode being enough to make any CEO begin to sweat. With that, it would seem we could trust Apple and any other manufacturer to do everything they can to stay on the right path and side with the basic civil rights of the citizens of the world. Unfortunately for us, it may not be completely up to them.

The difference here is that CarrierIQ did almost nothing to help consumers directly. Sure, folks might have benefited from a better network and better technology in the long run, but to the average consumer it was little more than an annoying, unsightly wart on a thumb.

Apple might be in the clear if they truly did make the decision to keep encryption keys for fingerprint data at the local hardware level from the get-go, but there’s no telling what sort of governmental loopholes exist to get around that (nor can we determine whether they’re telling the truth at all). With more and more folks aware of the government’s questionable homeland intelligence collection tactics as of late, it will be interesting to see if Apple’s fingerprint scanner will be welcomed by the public with open arms.

The Future of Fingerprint Tech

So where do we go from here? If Apple truly does “inspire” others and change the game up, will we see a redux of fingerprint scanners in Android phones? Will OEMs look to emulate any success Apple might have with the iPhone 5S’ implementation?

It’s tough to say. Again, Android and iOS are two completely different styles of mobile ecosystems. Apple’s “there’s no one but us” approach allows them to be far more flexible with the technology they decide to use in their iPhones and iPads than third-party OEMs can with Android. Personally speaking, I honestly wouldn’t want to see fingerprint scanners make a return unless Google gives everyone the tools they need to do it right.

Future

That said, there are areas where Android could greatly benefit from an increased amount of phones with fingerprint scanners. Fingerprint-based encryption is a popular one among IT departments in enterprise, for instance. These are the same departments who feel a 4-digit PIN code or a pattern unlock is way too simple for serious security. An increase in the amount of modern Android phones with fingerprint scanners would add yet another element of security that could help those IT guys sleep at night. This could apply to folks who work for the always-paranoid government, as well.

Am I saying Apple will succeed? Am I saying they will lead yet another movement in contemporary tech? No, not at all. Even Apple faces an interesting hill to climb, with obstacles of privacy, security, and consumer acceptance to overcome. How they ascend that hill will most likely determine how the rest of the industry looks at the fingerprint scanner moving forward.

Let us know how you feel — would you want to see fingerprint scanners make a return to Android phones? What would be your most wanted use for them? If not, why? We want to hear it all, so be sure to spill your emotion to us in the comments section below. There’s also a poll sitting below, so drop a vote so we can see just how many of you are on either side of the issue!

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  • Steve

    The biggest problem with this is its just to personal. Then there is the “what if” factor. What if it malfunctions, or if it is tied to an external database, or even if something happens to the finger(s) or the entire hand(s) that its linked to???????

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      From what I understand, using the fingerprint scanner won’t be the only way to get into the device if you set one up. You will have to setup a traditional passcode behind it.

      • Steve

        Still doesn’t fix the issue of not knowing if its linked to some sort of external database.

        • schitzengigles10

          if the fingerprint image itself is linked to a database or the phone?

    • malcmilli

      lol if you lost both of your hands, your smartphone wont be of very much use anyway.

  • Leroy1983

    Apple wasn’t the 1st to MP3 players, smartphone or even tablets but look how that turned out. It doesn’t matter who’s 1st, what matters is who can make it work great

    • PhineasJW

      Bingo.

    • Elliot Kotis

      How? This is how:
      1. They rule MP3
      2. They are far behind with smartphones, only holding 15% sales and falling
      3. Tablets are also behind, but still ruling market share, the Nexus 7 has stirred the pot, and iPad will be a thing of the past….just like iPhone in the kings chair, they will also become the mad king.

      Oh and they werent first to do it right, they were first to get it out, HTC ONE MAX has finger scanning as well.

  • sc0rch3d

    not sure if enterprise would even use this feature, most still think simple PIN is more secure than a 9 dot gesture. However, i did see one commentor that suggested different shortcuts for different fingers.

    personally, it’s a cool idea but apple is betting too much on a fingerprint scanner and faster processor to carry the momentum.

  • Shawn_Locke

    The world’s phones are ready for fingerprint scanners because Apple finally said so.

  • http://1stclassmovingmn.com Efi

    I cann see the sg4 perfect for a button / finger print… :-)

  • PhineasJW

    Good article.

    Motorola tried a few things that will likely become mainstream in the near future. They were also one of the firsts with a dockable phone, which they subsequently abandoned. Within 5 years, I expect to see that solution from both Microsoft and Apple.

    It definitely doesn’t pay to blaze the trail with a sub-par use-model. Microsoft has done this many times. And on the flipside, Apple has made history by analyzing the flaws in some existing solution and re-inventing it with a better use-model.

    Whether fingerprint scanners take off, remains to be seen. It has to be better, easier, and faster than the alternatives. We’ll see.

  • schitzengigles10

    I absolutely loved the fingerprint scanner on my Atrix. I got so used to it and found it so convenient I wouldn’t give the phone up until I bricked it. I was saddened that Android producers in general didn’t pick this feature up, but I have to imagine if Apple’s stab at fingerprint scanners takes off they’ll begin sticking them in everywhere as well.

  • TalkingMoose

    People should either learn something about encryption or stop talking about it. No, the NSA cannot get your fingerprint off your phone short of physically dusting it. The data that’s stored is one-way encrypted. It cannot be decrypted. Even if you somehow developed some incredibly advanced math to do so, it wouldn’t necessarily give you unique results but rather a pretty broad set of numbers. It would never return an image of a fingerprint. And in order to encrypt the data, you need the certificate, and any other device unique data the data block encryption chooses to use.

    People who think that someone is going to be able to identify them from data that can be gleaned from an encrypted fingerprint need to be fitted for a looser tinfoil hat, because their current one is too tight.

    You’d get more identifying information from your phone contact list, and it’s not near so hard to acquire.

    • Canon User

      Besides many other possibilities, you’re assuming that your fingerprint would not purposefully be stored/sent unencrypted as well as the encrypted one.

    • ari_free

      “No, the NSA cannot get your fingerprint off your phone short of physically dusting it.”

      Well, if someone ‘borrows’ your phone it will be very easy for them to dust it and use your fingerprint to get in.

    • thewafflehouse

      Are you sure about the data being one way encrypted? Apple claims iMessage is encrypted in such a way that they don’t have the keys and the data is secure. If that was the case, when you restored your iPhone data to a new Device, a new key would be generated and your old data would be lost. It isn’t, you get to keep your old iMessages. Just like you can access them cross platform.

      It’s going to be hard to say, but if I can have an iPhone 5S with Fingerprint data on it and lose it, and when I get a new phone, my fingerprint data is back on it….then clearly they are keeping the encryption partially lax here.

      I’d recommend before you make commends about learning about encryption, you should learn a bit more about it yourself.

      http://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2013/06/can-apple-read-your-imessages.html

  • ari_free

    I just think we have to move beyond having to touch a physical button on your phone.
    Look at Moto X: “Hello Google Now” and you activate your phone even if it’s on your bed table.
    Look at hovering on the Samsung 4 or being able to use it while wearing gloves.
    Look at using it while driving. We need to be able to do everything we can on the phone without having to touch it.
    Look at how android phones, such as Nexus 4,switched to software buttons so that the front is all screen. Why waste space that could be used for a bigger screen?
    That’s the real innovation and not by going back to the ipaq of 2002

    • malcmilli

      “ok Google now” doesnt work if you’re at work, in a meeting, or in the movie theater, etc.

      • ari_free

        That’s why Moto came up with active display

        • malcmilli

          yeah but that has nothing to do with the topic on hand lol

          • ari_free

            Yes it does. It all fits into the theme of not having to touch your phone to get access

          • malcmilli

            yeah but you still have to swipe to unlock and put in your passcode if you have one. lock-screen notifications are different from fingerprint scanner bypassing pincodes. Not really an apples to apples comparison. That’s all i’m saying. Google now is a lock screen bypass, but not the notifications.

  • David Narada Brown

    i dont really think this is as secure as most would think. i mean, i obviously dont want a stranger in my phone, but its the people close to me that i really keep out of my phone ( dont really need my lady browsing thru my phone ). if i were sleep with this finger scanner locking my phone she could easily put my finger on it to gain access! THIS WOULD BE MY BIGGEST FEAR! she would wake me from my sleep absolutely furious.

    • Dan

      0.o maybe you shouldn’t be cheating on her (only thing I can imagine that would make a woman that furious)

      • David Narada Brown

        im not cheating on her. i just have a few conversations she wouldnt like me too!

      • TheHowiie

        agreed.

    • AtDIelement

      So, what could you possibly have on your phone that you don’t want her… Oh… I get it now…

    • ari_free

      • David Narada Brown

        lol! yea i like that 1 too

  • Nick

    I’m not too crazy about wanting a finger print scanner….also, if anyone is worried about all this NSA stuff just forget about it. Our government already has everything they need to know about all of us.

  • uniquename72

    “It’s scary stuff, even if Apple does assure us that encryption keys for fingerprint images are only being stored within the device at the hardware level, and not on any remote server.”

    Those who think it’s necessary (or even desirable) to keep a copy of the actual image of your fingerprint in order to use this as a security tool have seen WAY too many episodes of CSI, where images are flashed on a screen a hundred times per second and compared to a master image.

    That’s not how it works.

    Various aspects of the fingerprint are measured, and those measurements are reduced to mathematical expressions (often ratios of the measurements compared to each other). There’s no need to build into the system a reverse function that would allow the fingerprint to be reconstructed from the measurements — that would just add overhead (of course, it CAN be done, and could be a real privacy concern). Instead, it’s better to just join the final expressions somehow, hash the result, and compare that to the print hash of anyone who tries to log into the device. Hashes can’t be reverse engineered (if done correctly) so the “image” — which was never stored anyway — is safe.

    BTW, facial recognition works in a similar fashion.

  • Unorthodox

    Call me paranoid, but I have no desire for someone to be able to link my identity with my fingerprints, location, pictures, persons I call, and so on…

  • ari_free

    The big flaw of relying on fingerprints for security is that you can’t change it if it is compromised

    • Fodografes

      Why can’t you change it? Most people have more than one finger.

      • malcmilli

        lies!

      • ari_free

        Compromised means they got your fingerprints because you touched all over your phone. You can’t just get new fingerprints.

    • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

      Or if you cut your finger or its dirty.

  • TechGuy

    I have the very Iraq you mention. The scanner (and the Ipaq pocket pc) still work fine although I no longer use it. The scanner is just a novelty really just for geeks. I can’t really understand why Apple have adopted it. You can’t use it with gloves, a blister or ingrained paint/dirt/grease impedes it. Better ways will come along. Instant DNA for example?

  • TONY ALDO

    This is all true, the one thing I want to point out is by Apple implementing this to the masses of sheeple. Finger print scanning tech is now going to skyrocket. And I for one really wants this. So thanks Apple.

    • ari_free

      OK but put it in the back please. it’s not worth taking out space that could be used for a bigger screen.

  • Nicholas Hrycun

    I live in northern Canada, I wear mitts most of the year. I don’t want to take my mitts off to use my phone… and yes my mitts work with the touch screen of my Nexus 4.

    • mikexilva

      You can try to order special mitts with a clone of your fingerprint :P or some sort of bluetooth mitts that unlock phone, maybe NFC would be easier for this propose..

      • No_Nickname90

        The iPhone doesn’t have NFC. So that’s not an option. LoL!!

    • malcmilli

      you could always just not enable the finger print scanner

    • No_Nickname90

      On my LG Expo, if you couldn’t use the fingerprint scanner it would ask for your password.

      So I’m sure it’s the same with this. If the fingerprint scanner isn’t reading, it will ask for a PIN number. The PIN number is a backup should the fingerprint scanner fails.

      So you can keep your mitts on. LoL!!

  • Shawn_Locke

    iPhone 5S Touch ID is going to piss off a lot of psycho girlfriends..

    • NIGHTSCOUT

      Actually, it makes it easier for them to access the phone. When boyfriend is piss drunk, hold his phone to his finger. DONE.

      • Hipking23

        Lol

      • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

        I didn’t think of that. Just catch them while their sleeping and push the phone up to their finger, unlocked.

        • NIGHTSCOUT

          This phone is a godsend for psycho girlfriends.

    • ari_free

      Like I said…just dust it for prints and there you go

    • shonangreg

      Psycho boyfriends too.

  • james ortiz

    I’m sorry but does anyone forget that android had facial recognition for unlocking the phone? that alone is way better than finger print unlocking.

    • Ben de Guzman

      lol maybe in a well lit room oh and what about people who have twins?

      • Hipking23

        They should install an infrared camera on the front.

    • Darwin

      “Had”?

      I use facial recognition to unlock my HTC One.

    • malcmilli

      It is in theory, but in practice, it isnt very reliable and is often slower than just typing in a password the first time. From what i hear on hands on reviews, the finger print scanner works a lot better than face unlock.

      • Drew M

        With decent ambient lighting, face unlock on the N4 is actually faster than a password or pattern, and at least as fast as a PIN. Google has continued to work on the algorithm to improve the speed and security. I know I’m part of the minority that actually use and prefer face unlock, but I think it’s a better biometric ID than fingerprint.

    • Max

      It’s soo unsecure haha

  • meliorist

    ” Apple — a company who still hasn’t even adopted the likes of NFC…”

    They obviously don’t want to. They’re hoping NFC will die, so they can promote a proprietary alternative.

    • Shawn_Locke

      Then they will act like they invented it.

      • bluevoodo

        Do you know what a proprietary alternative even means?

        • Shawn_Locke

          (aka came up with the idea in the first place)

  • Spoken Word™

    I guarantee you that Apple will abandon this tech shortly.

    • Shawn_Locke
    • NIGHTSCOUT

      I’d say you’re wrong, if we look at Apple’s track record. Have they ever abandoned a feature? Don’t think so…..

      • ari_free

        I don’t know if you can call it a feature but they got rid of “slide to unlock” (like flipping a switch), coverflow and all the nice bits of the ios look.

        • Ryan O’Neill

          You still have to slide to unlock. It even says so on the lockscreen – “slide to unlock”.
          Apple would never confuse their customers by making such a radical change -__-

          • Del373

            It was apparently too radical of a change for some people. In the change logs when they were updating the iOS 7 beta, once they tweaked the new “slide to unlock” appearance from it’s initial version 7 form because some folks were confused by the redesign.

            …which I found to be bizarre, since it’s pretty obvious if you just read.

          • ari_free

            Yeah but they put an arrow on the bottom

      • Crazydog

        You’re right. We’re all still using iTunes Ping…

  • mgamerz

    There was an SDK for the Atrix. It was released too late to be useful, months after the phone came out. I have the SDK. It was bought within months so support died nearly immediately after it came out.

    And it didn’t suck, it was great, it was very reliable. I really miss my fingerprint scanner, it doesn’t suck like the laptop ones I’ve used.

  • Hipking23
  • AndroidProfit

    I wish I could relate to the many here who hate an inanimate object enough to come up with whitty words like, “sheeple”. FASCINATING.

    • Marsg

      What else would you call people who line up 2 weeks early and live on the sidewalk to buy a device they haven’t even seen yet?

      • ari_free

        Losers?

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      I wish i could relate to someone that spells “witty” as “whitty” FASCINATING.

    • aiden9

      I was under the impression “sheeple” was hate directed towards people who camp out in front of stores for days if not weeks in advance(even when supplies is obviously limited so they’re wasting their time).

  • Caffiend

    You know what, looking back on it now, the Atrix was just way ahead of it’s time. Hell, I’m using the Atrix Lapdock today as a full blown laptop for my micro board.

  • Luxferro

    CarrierIQ was probably an NSA front, that failed. So then they strong armed all the telecommunication companies ;p

  • davo77

    The new iPhone comes with the full endorsement of the NSA!

  • JulianZHuang

    Samsung announced a 64 bit phone coming… lol. once you copy, you cant stop haha

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      sarcasm ? i hope.

    • aiden9

      Its all based on ARMv8 which has been out for a year now. I’d be shocked if Qualcomm and Nvidia didn’t have a 64 bit chip in the works as well as Samsung. Its just an obvious incremental step.

      • Immortal78

        Sure it is, that’s why Samsung already has one. Right?

        • scoter man1

          Let’s see… is 64bit relevant to mobile processing? Nope, not really. Sure, you can access more than 4GB of ram, no one’s putting that much in a device though. I doubt any program can really use 64bit right now anyways. Also, apple is still using a dual core processor. My main point is, for the majority of OEMs right now, it’s if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

        • Durandal_1707

          ARMv8 is a 64-bit architecture. Samsung’s current phone lineup uses processors based on ARMv7, and before ARMv7 came out, their phones were based on processors based on ARMv6. When they upgrade the processors on their phones, which they almost certainly will do with the next revision, they’ll be based on ARMv8, and thus 64-bit.

          The reason the iPhone 5S is 64-bit is because it, too, is using the ARM architecture, and since they just released an upgrade, it’s using the latest version of it, which happens to be 64-bit. Apple did not invent ARM, nor did they invent 64-bit, nor are the other phone makers going to keep other manufacturers using prev-gen processors just because Apple got their ARMv8 upgrade out first.

      • Rodrigo

        For sure, one thing is coping ideas and the other is creating ones. Ones again i will not get tired to say that most of the features that androids put on their devices SUCK!!!! are not useful at all! Those features are made so the people can get entertain and thats it.

    • ari_free

      oh my goodness. It even uses a CPU and memory and has a screen. Someone please call the lawyers

    • Durandal_1707

      You do realize that Apple didn’t invent the ARM architecture, right?

    • Max

      read more about technology, that’s all really

    • chris420o

      64 bit architecture is the future of any os…so im not sure why its called copying when lets say like windows has a 64bit…eventually everything will be

  • Immortal78
    • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

      What does that have to do with fingerprint scanners?

    • wtfbbq

      Apple owns 64 bit now?

  • ari_free

    Fingerprints BUSTED

  • cooldoods

    Palm vein recognition is superior to fingerprint recognition. That said, Android has support for multiple users which would greatly benefit from having a simpler authentication method.

  • scoter man1

    I had the 4G, loved the phone for what it was worth. I attempted to use the scanner as a means of locking the device for about a week. I couldn’t take it because if your finger made a little to much friction on the pad and didn’t slide smoothly, you’d have to slide again. Generally it was just faster to use pin unlock. Now I don’t care anymore because I never lose my phone nor does anyone else use it.

  • Patrick Bateman

    never had a password protection on my phone… I just keep my bitches in check…

  • joseph mcfadden

    oh yeah right, like i am going to allow apple to have a record of my fingerprints!!! go ahead, do a search online about how the phones store data, what they store, where they store it, and how easy it is to hack into an apple device and get it. i’m sure this will start a flame war and a massive post-fest of uneducated fanboys defending their $700 paperweights but i dont really care.

  • Jacob Rell

    Maybe Motorola should release the atrix again to compete with the iphone 5s. Fingerprint scanner, 4″ screen, dual core,1gb ram, qhd screen, 1900mAh battery. Sounds like a direct competitor to me.

  • Ryan

    Im sure samsung will put finger print scanner on the next galaxy phone, and 64bit with quadrillion core processor!

    • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

      There are already other 64 bit and fingerprint reader phones on the market besides the iPhone.

      • lesportif

        64 bit ARM phone ???? Where ?

  • Dan

    No thank you. As it is, the phone thieves have no need to cut off my index finger and take it with them…

    Dan

  • Jeffrey Evans

    People use them in laptops all the time and never made a fuss about it. The second they get put in an iPhone, tons of people are up in arms. Is it Apple or do people think a laptop has less opportunity to steal your information?

    I’m on the fence with this one. Not because of paranoia, far from it, the NSA has files on just about everyone in the US so my fingerprint isn’t much to them. I’m on the fence because right now it’s like 3D on phones, nothing but a gimmick. If they did use them like Google Wallet, or as a password for certain sites/apps, it might be worthwhile. To use it just as a means of unlocking your phone, I’m not interested.

    • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

      People are more likely to store very sensitive data on a laptop than they are any phone; thus the need for stronger security on a laptop vs a phone.

      The uproar about privacy returns back to the NSA spying crap that has people in a tizzy, even if they aren’t sure why they’re really in that tizzy.

    • http://www.nclf.net/ Goldman60

      My laptop stores the fingerprint data in an encrypted onboard hardware security device, it never transmits any information to the internet and on a laptop I have programs that can alert me if it ever did start transmitting my fingerprints.

      The big issue with the iPhone is that there is no way for me to know what happens to my fingerprint data once I put it into my phone.

  • Fel Pe

    I do like the fingerprint reader and have to confess apple did a good job by installing it on the home button without changing/adding anything crazy on the phone. However the fingerprint scanner doesn’t change the fact that the iPhone is a $400 phone with a limited OS.

    • ari_free

      It means you have a big fat physical button and a small screen

      • Fel Pe

        I agree but the problem is not the button, the problem is the small screen… and limited OS, and price tag… and all the things that make apple so rich

  • Corey Phelan

    no it didnt work on the atrix 4g because it sucked. android is really good at pushing out “features” that are not thought out or polished at all, just to claim they did it first, then bash apple when they perfect it.

    • Fel Pe

      Android didnt put the finger print reader on the atix 4G, Motorola did. Your comment is what sucks.

    • domi1kenobi

      Like the IOS Maps right? Or we will never make a 7″ tablet… The notification center, the toggles … I could go on but it’s getting tiresome waking up iSheeps.. so nn

      • Ha lala

        please, just stop bringing the iOS Maps here. It’s a software. This fingerprint scanner is a hardware feature. Look how they build that scanner underneath the home button. It’s just great and .. make sense. Im not a fan of anything, currently using a S3 and loving it. But I have to admit that other companies tend to follow Apple’s hardware design.

        • Suabt1977

          Please dont talk about that slow phone. All android phone are fast initially but they get slower overtime. i had S3 ! I bought that phone for screen size but resolution ? — less than nexus !

        • chris420o

          samsung tends to follow apples hardware design…and lg follows samsung…no one else…moto microsoft all do their own thing

      • Suabt1977

        yet Google copied 3D maps from Apple Maps. Google has done lot of blunders than APPLE did. Look at android security, its full of viruses. Now samsung will ship with 3rd party anti-virus apps because they cant do anything else.

        They are increasing ram to make slower-phone-with-antivirus fast at the cost of battery and durability.

        • Android4208

          lol. Google captures there own 3d data with trackers and that driverless car. I didn’t know Apple was the first to come up with 360 degree pictures. It isn’t full of viruses if had 8 different androids since android came out and I haven’t gotten one. Plus I’ve downloaded tons of “aftermarket” apps and stuff threw the we browser which you cant even do on ios without jail-breaking.

    • Scott Liddle

      You complete idiot, read the article again, Motorola did it not android as already mentioned above. Plus Apple hasn’t polished anything just copied android to try boost their sales. You can’t polish turd lol. So please do tell me when apple the company of innovation has ever innovated anything.

      • Suabt1977

        you are an idiot ! do some research ! On motorolla it wasnt touch to unlock. User had to swipe finger to scan and offcourse it would fail few times.

        look at all android features, all have bugs. Even settings menu color scheme is not consistent ! so go home man !! APPLE just reinvented the Finger Print scanner!!!

        • Scott Liddle

          No need for more research, if you read properly not once did I say the Motorola was touch to unlock, but it had a fingerprint scanner so apple didn’t do anything new but just made it to be able to unlock their phones. For a company that likes to pride itself on innovation it doesn’t really innovate much but port most of what android devices have been doing for years. Move along now man

      • Corey Phelan

        using that retarded logic android has not been inovative at all, all they have is the nexus line.. copying apple once again with their glass front and back design on the iphone 4 and nexus 4.

  • simpleas

    BE GONE Fingerprint readers.

  • ladoo

    Damn right Apple will do it right! They will make it work like a baws!!!

  • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

    samsung will copy Apple yet again

    • Fel Pe

      And Apple copied Motorola… and all of them copied Alexander Grahan Bell !!! DUUUHH bro… go home!!

      • Suabt1977

        On motorolla it wasnt touch to unlock. User had to swipe
        finger to scan and offcourse it would fail few times. so go home man !! APPLE just reinvented the Finger Print scanner!!!

        • chris420o

          lol i had the phone it worked great…but i dont have the phone anymore and dont miss it…apple late to the party as usual

  • Max

    I don’t know why people keep saying a fingerprint scanner adds security. This functions the same way face unlock, or pc finger print scanners work. It allows you to bypass a password input. You can always still input the password to gain access, so it is only as secure as the password. Its purely a convenience feature, and unless this perfect and quick almost 100% of the time, the novelty will wear off and people will go back to passwords, just like with face unlock

    This isn’t a sci-fi movie, if you can’t get it to read your finger, it doesn’t lock you out of the war room.

    • Fel Pe

      I agree, it doesn’t add security, just convenience. Which is cool to have tho. The point is with or without the fingerprint scanner the iPhone still is limited and overpriced.

    • Suabt1977

      PC fingerprint scanners suck so please dont confuse it with APPLE TouchID.

      You made a poor point by talking about Face Unlock. Face Unlock is not secure. Any one can unlock the phone by adjusting lighting. Just give it a try.

      There’s no sound and secure feature that a user could use to bypass password input but TouchID.

      • Thomas Mellen

        Accept for the password you have to type for instances when it can’t read your finger. Password. Just like Android and Windows phones. Same playing field for security.

  • Suabt1977

    Fingerprint scanner on motorolla really sucked ! User had to swipe finger to scan and offcourse it would fail few times. Have you used finger print scanners on hp laptops ?
    It was not for convenience atleast.

    FingerPrint scanner on android is of no use. There are lots of viruses and i am sure fingerprint data will get stolen from your phone. But thats not the case with iPhone.

    Why everyone hates apple ?

    • chris420o

      smh lol…never had an atrix

    • Max

      Really apple is magic and would never give your data away and you know this how? The # of people who’ve had viruses on an android is miniscule (basically non-existent for people who only downloaded from play store), far less than OSx the supposedly “virus-free” os. Sure ios has had less, but that’s because they don’t count any of the jailbroken iphones.

      I love how nobody has actually use touch id, and yet everyone assumes it will perfect and better than all other fingerprint scanners. Sure maybe it’ll unlock your phone first time everytime (by being very lenient on who’s fingerprint it is). Realize cheap fingerprint scanners are gimics in the security world, they are easily faked out.

  • Elliot Kotis

    AND It was a race between Apple and HTC (HTC ONE MAX is confirmed for a finger scanner).

    • Rodrigo

      Once again copying from the daddy of the smartphones.

      • chris420o

        i dont know if u rem this company blackberry…but they were the true daddys of the smartphone…maybe palm actually

        • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

          “Research In Motion Limited”/”Blackberry Limited”

        • Rodrigo

          Most of the people didn’t know about the existence of smartphones until iphone came out. Sorry but we dont have to do so much research on that. Come on!

          • Thomas Mellen

            Most people didn’t know about Al Qaeda until they blew up the towers, too. Doesn’t mean it was a good thing.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/mickeleh Michael Markman (Mickeleh)

            Best Apple bashing ever. Apple = AQ. Nice.

          • chris420o

            it is not true…blackberry was the frist mainstream smartphone…just because it wasnt full touchscreen device doesnt mean it wasnt a smartphone…a touchscreen ui doesnt make a phone a smartphone…apple brought the first intuitive full touch screen ui to a phone and marketed the hell out of it…doesnt mean they made the first smartphone

          • Rodrigo

            Touch screen is kind of a big deal on smartphones.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/mickeleh Michael Markman (Mickeleh)

          Yes, Blackberry got there first with a spectacular solution for corporate email (and a pretty sucky web browser). iPhone was the first smartphone for the rest of us.

          • Thomas Mellen

            I had a Windows based smartphone long before the iphone was a wet dream for Apple. You should rephrase your comment: “Iphone was the first smartphone for the sheep.”

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/mickeleh Michael Markman (Mickeleh)

            Bah! (or as you’d prefer Baaaaa! Seriously, the market has spoken on Windows phone. Again. and Again. and Again. That’s why Ballmer is leaving.

          • biocross

            You seem to be really really butthurt with Apple.

          • chris420o

            so you had zero friends with blackberrys…uh huh

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/mickeleh Michael Markman (Mickeleh)

            Of course, I had a Blackberry. Supplied by my company. All my colleagues had them. I can tell you first hand, the iPhone was a different breed of device. You’re being silly to say otherwise.

        • DYNK

          Nokia N95….
          BlackBerry? Lol noobs

  • Rodrigo

    I had a friend who had motorola atrix but they had lots of problems with the finger print system. Lets say apple will have the first phone touch screen that will really work.

  • Ryan

    Android = original copying machine…

    • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

      Huh?

  • Rodrigo

    Iphone has a solid OS. Android has too much bugs.

    • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

      LOL

      But why is there the downvotes? It is true that “Android” has suffered due to computer bugs, even now at 2013.

  • chris420o

    android > ios….that is all

  • iPod4g

    All those very knowledgable people who say that someone can dust our phone and get our fingerprints , if you would have reasearched more about it you would know that it also maps the live layer of our skin beneath the dead cells too .. So you can’t just ‘dust’ it

  • Max

    You write a couple of articles about apple and the trolls come out to play. Apple people are so excited they can use fingerprint for app store password? Maybe if you didn’t have to enter a password every time you downloaded a free app, you wouldn’t be wasting so much time you need a fingerprint bypass.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    LOOOOOOOLOOOOOOOOOOOLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLOL!!!!

  • Rodrigo

    Finger print scanner is a such a big deal that all android phones will have to adopted with finger print scanner on their phones, apple once again nailed it!!

  • Thomas Mellen

    My favorite new hardware feature of the iPhone is the plastic back that apple said was something that made Android inferior. Just like the fingerprint scanner that is “miles ahead” of all fingerprint scanners to come before… the new plastic in the iPhone’s back must be made from nano-urythane or something so it’s not just “regular” plastic — WAIT! I know! It’s a passive liquid screen! You can filter pure drinking water through it with the special “Croc case!” THEY HAVE REVOLUTIONIZED EVERYTHING!!!!! All bow down to Apple.

    • Max

      I hear the plastic is so special it’s impossible to pull a full fingerprint off of it. Now new iphones in nsa and non-nsa versions.

      I bet when the 5c was announced, all the people planing on buying it immediately went out and scooped up all the iphone 5 left in inventory.

  • Eric Mwacalimba

    Call me paranoid but if Iphone 5s has a finger print “Touch ID scanner” and a motion processor dedicated to analyzing motion, meaning that the phone knows when you are walking, running, sleeping, driving, taking a dump. add the two, give backdoor access to NSA. they will be able to track your every move from the time you enable touch ID and always be sure its you using the phone.

  • Rodrigo

    Sorry android but you guys are a copying machine.
    Smartphones time frame.

    • Max

      Seems to me like that timeline itself shows android development was pre-iphone development. So the point you are trying to make is what? that in 2010ish android ditched the keyboard and became a copy? Mind you the fact that capacitive touchscreen technology had suddenly become cheap and available. The fact that my phones have all had keyboards, does that make me a non copier? You know i here dells/hp/lenovo/mac all sell some fairly similar desktop towers, they must all be coping each other.

      • Rodrigo

        Well … its clear that apple didnt make a phone till the 2007, so if it is not so significant and important after the iphone, why the smartphones market increases exactly during that period we are talking about one model of apple against lots of android devices models. the companies got inspired by the iphone.

        • Max

          Look you are obviously an isheep, you’ve never written a positive comment about android, yet sit here and troll on an android website. We believe android is great, you think apple is the best. That’s cool you can have your opinion. Why do you post here? Why do you read these articles?

          I read phandroid, and comment on it, because generally the conversation is a very mature level.

          Can we get a ban on rodrigo and the other itrolls who showed up after the 5s/c were released?

          But if you really do need an answer, the fact that unlimited data plans became available, the fact that 3g networks were finally brought online, the fact that arm chips reached the 500mhz+ speed, the fact that flash and ram memory dropped dramatically in cost and yield, the fact that gorilla glass repurposed itself as a phone screen material, the fact that carriers finally stopped forcing you to only download apps on a monthly pay basis through them(yes apps did exist before iphone, even on dumbphones), the fact that capacitive touchscreens/led-lcd screens finally came down in cost,… the list goes on. The iphone wasn’t magic, it was careful supply market analysis, just like every other manufacturer was watching. Just because apple was the first to ditch the keyboard ( a decision i personally still disagree with in my smartphone), doesn’t mean everyone else copied them. I mean i guess motorola invented a lot of radio and cell frequencies we probably should pay credit to them to them every time someone including apple builds a phone. You know nobody bought cell phones until they built those cell chips, obviously thats why cellphones exist.

          Now please, can we get back to discussing non-apple crap?