Google retrofits Nexus 5 with a fingerprint scanner to show off Android Pay [VIDEO]


Google Developers Nexus 5 fingerprint reader

One of Android M’s key features is its native support for fingerprint scanning hardware. Given there’s no actual Nexus device with a fingerprint reader for Google to test out their latest software APIs, they had to get creative. What they somehow managed to do was retrofit a Nexus 5 with fingerprint reader to show off some of the new Android M features in their new developer video.

Now we’re not going to go as far as saying this could be some sort of hint that a revamped Nexus 5 with a fingerprint reader will launch later this year… but it might. Okay, it probably wont. Not in its current state anyway. But we have heard rumors that Google could be planning both a 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch Nexus models this year.

Have a look for yourself at Google’s retrofitted Nexus 5 in their latest video down below (fast forward to 2:26) and tell us how excited you’d be for a reasonably compact Nexus smartphone that wouldn’t strain your thumbs. Oh, a fingerprint scanner would be a nice addition too.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. PLEASE bring back the Nexus 5 in the same form factor, with updated specs. I’ll pay full price if Android_M is stable on release, and the battery doesn’t suck :P

    1. Little phones are so 2013 geez.. On a more serious note I think the Nexus 6 is the perfect size and I’m hoping for another Shamu this year too. I don’t buy phones with screens less than 5.5inches but I prefer 6inch’s + and yes that’s what she said.

      1. Agreed.

      2. Yeah, it’s cool for you guys that like whales, but those of us who don’t would like some Nexus love too :)

        1. Well there will reportedly be 2 Nexus phones so I’ll just get both and see how I like them.

  2. Since the iPhone has it……

    1. I know right!? Since 2013. A whole 2 years after the Motorola Artix!

      1. Atrix*

      2. And 14 years after Siemens Infineon.

  3. Define “reasonably compact”; the iPhone 4 is a perfect size for my hands but not my eyes.

    1. The iPhone 4 feels small compared to even a Galaxy S3 and reading a lot of detail on it is a bit of a squintfest even if you have good eyesight.

      1. Yes, it feels small compared to a Galaxy S3 because it’s smaller than a Galaxy S3 and you’re used to it, just like the Galaxy S3 feels large to an iPhone 4 user.

        1. Obviously. The point I was trying to make is that despite the competition clearly demonstrating that a bigger screen has benefits all over Apple stubbornly hung onto a 3.5″ and then a 4″ screen for quite some time.

  4. A phone does not have to be compact to not “strain your thumbs” when using or using a fingerprint scanner. The dimple on the Nexus 6 back is the perfect comfortable spot to rest your finger.

    1. it was actually, literally, planned to go there in the Nexus6. but the fingerprint company was literally bought out by Apple, and therefore the fingerprint scanner was omitted from the Nexus6

      1. Do you have a cite for that?

        I ask, because the Nexus 6 was based on the Moto X (2nd gen), which evolved from the 1st gen Moto X, which had a smaller version of the same dimple. That’s probably where it came from.

        Apple had already purchased the finger scanner company in 2012 (?) and implemented their scanner into the iPhone, well before the 2nd gen Moto X or Nexus 6 were thought of. Given the timeline, it’s hard to believe they had any intention to add a scanner designed from the company Apple purchased.

        1. Apple is the reason why the Nexus 6 didn’t have a fingerprint scanner. here are two sources: https://gigaom.com/2015/01/26/apple-is-the-reason-the-nexus-6-doesnt-have-a-fingerprint-scanner/ and http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/how-apple-killed-the-nexus-6-s-fingerprint-scanner-1282063 please do write back and share your thoughts with me after you read those articles.

          1. Thanks for providing the links, much appreciated.

            The claims by Woodside are interesting, for a few reasons. The iPhone 5S was released in late 2013**. Apple only bought AuthenTec, the company which built the finger scanner a year earlier, in 2012. The Nexus 6 released in late 2014.

            ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_5S

            Woodside is effectively saying they had design intentions for the Nexus 6 as far back as 2012 (?), but because Apple bought the top scanner company, they were forced to leave a dimple on the Nexus 6, two years later. Assuming Moto is locked into design two years out (they aren’t), it still presents another dilemma.

            The original Moto X also had the dimple in 2013. If he were talking about that device, it would be more consistent, but instead he’s saying they couldn’t make design changes through two generations of phones.

            From another article:

            “The Moto X, which was introduced last month and is available at all major carriers, took about a year to develop. Wicks and Iqbal Arshad, senior vice president of engineering and global product development, were given wide berth to design the device from scratch and concentrate on that product.”

            Source: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-moto-born-attitudes-motorola-mobility.html#jCp

            So they were able to design the original Moto X, from scratch, within a year, but couldn’t alter the Nexus 6, based on Apple’s moves in 2012? Just seems odd.

            I guess the only way this would make sense, is if they originally wanted a scanner, couldn’t get it, then fell in love with the dimple on the back, decided to keep it, and make it a signature of the phone. Either that, or they hoped some other major player would step in to eventually fill the gap, and it never happened. Without more information, it’s tough to say.

            Anyway, thanks for the info, it’s been an interesting thought process.

  5. Hmm…how about a case a fingerprint scanner to NFC board built into a case? Don’t know if it would work with the native API but might be a good retrofit for N5’s and N6’s already in the field…

    1. That would be nice. But this is what happens when you don’t wait one more year to buy your device. LoL!!

      Oh well…

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