Fingerprint sensor for Google's Nexus 6 was nixed after Apple bought AuthenTec

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2015
Motorola did intend to include a Touch ID-like fingerprint sensor in its Android flagship Nexus 6 smartphone, the company's then-CEO has revealed, but canceled the plan following Apple's acquisition of would-be component supplier AuthenTec.

Motorola planned a fingerprint sensor for the dimple that houses the Motorola logo on the back of the Nexus 6.
Motorola planned a fingerprint sensor for the dimple that houses the Motorola logo on the back of the Nexus 6.


"The secret behind that is that it was supposed to be fingerprint recognition, and Apple bought the best supplier," former Motorola chief Dennis Woodside told The Telegraph, referring to a dimple on the handset's rear that now contains the Motorola logo. "So the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren't there yet."

Apple purchased AuthenTec in 2012, paying $356 million for the company. Though some of that outlay was recovered by selling AuthenTec's encryption business, Apple's primary motivator for the deal is now largely regarded to have been the intellectual property surrounding AuthenTec's Smart Sensor components.

Rumors that the Nexus 6 would include such a sensor began circulating months before the device was announced, but it was believed to be a swipe-style sensor as found in Samsung's Galaxy S5. It now appears that that was Motorola's backup plan, and it may have been the same for Samsung.

Users have complained about the effectiveness of Samsung's solution since the S5's release, calling out the fiddly swipe gesture necessary to use it. Meanwhile, Apple's Touch ID has won rave reviews and enabled the rollout of Apple Pay, arguably the most successful mobile payment system ever released.

Touch ID has been so successful as a differentiator that Samsung is rumored to have swapped their part out for a new Touch ID-style sensor in the Galaxy S6, likely from Swedish firm Fingerprint Cards, the company which supplies a similar part for Huawei's Ascend Mate 7.

Still, Woodside believes the addition of a fingerprint sensor "wouldn't have made that big a difference" for the Nexus 6.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 83
    [I]Shamu[/I] is too big for most Android fans even. And putting it on the back is stupid, but who expects budget phone makers to pay attention to useability? After all, [I]specs sell.[/I]
  • Reply 2 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    Shamu is too big for most Android fans even. And putting it on the back is stupid, but who expects budget phone makers to pay attention to useability? After all, specs sell.
    Sensor on the back makes a lot of sense to me. Where is your index finger when you're holding your phone? Making it an even larger phone by adding chin-space for the sensor on the front is what wouldn't make sense. Does it to you?
  • Reply 3 of 83
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,147member
    This is what happen when you let a lawyer (Woodside) run a technology company. Woodside had not clue what he was doing. Google put him in place since they saw the Motorola acquistion as IP grab not a business that need to operate as a cell phone company. But it was too late, the EU and FTC told them they could not use the IP to beat up the industry and they had to run Motorola as cell phone company and could not just shut it down to collect all the IP.

    In the mean time Apple was buying up all the technology that Motorola was planning to use. The same happen when Apple bought the company in Israel which did NAND memory design and management. Motorola was working with them as welll to improve the performance of its NAND In the cell phones.
  • Reply 4 of 83
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Sensor on the back makes a lot of sense to me. Where is your index finger when you're holding your phone? Making it an even larger phone by adding chin-space for the sensor on the front is what wouldn't make sense. Does it to you?

    My index finger is on the side of the phone, where it belongs.
  • Reply 5 of 83
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Sensor on the back makes a lot of sense to me. Where is your index finger when you're holding your phone? Making it an even larger phone by adding chin-space for the sensor on the front is what wouldn't make sense. Does it to you?

    really!? Do you have eyes on the back of the phone? Do you put your phone on a table with screen up or down?

  • Reply 6 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    My index finger is on the side of the phone, where it belongs.

    Ah, you're a gripper! :D
    So try moving that finger around to the front sensor with that hand. How's that work for you compared to touching the back with that index finger if the sensor were there?
  • Reply 7 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    ppietra wrote: »
    really!? Do you have eyes on the back of the phone? Do you put your phone on a table with screen up or down?
    Why would you need to look at the sensor?
  • Reply 8 of 83
    ppietra wrote: »
    really!? Do you have eyes on the back of the phone? Do you put your phone on a table with screen up or down?

    Exactly. Most of the time I unlock my phone when it's sitting on a flat surface.

    gatorguy wrote: »
    Ah, you're a gripper! :D
    So try moving that finger around to the front sensor with that hand. How's that work for you compared to touching the back with that index finger if the sensor were there?

    It works fine.
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Why would you need to look at the sensor?

    You ever need to unlock your phone without picking it up?
  • Reply 9 of 83
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Why would you need to look at the sensor?

    so that I don’t have to waste time fumbling with the phone to put the finger in right place! And to actually being able to quickly use another finger if I need, not just an index finger

  • Reply 10 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    Exactly. Most of the time I unlock my phone when it's sitting on a flat surface.
    It works fine.
    You ever need to unlock your phone without picking it up?
    I either wave my hand over my phone if I don 't feel like picking it up or I simply pick it up if there's some action I want to perform. . Sensor of the back is common sense if it's primary purpose is identity verification for payments. Only one hand needed, the one you're already holding your phone with. What benefit is there to making the phone larger/taller just to fit yet something else on the face?
  • Reply 11 of 83
    Whatever tech is behind it, my iPhone 6's fingerprint sensor works quite literally 100% of the time.

    Apple nailed it.

    This is what I like to see. Shipping a finished, polished, working product.
  • Reply 12 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    ppietra wrote: »
    so that I don’t have to waste time fumbling with the phone to put the finger in right place! And to actually being able to quickly use another finger if I need, not just an index finger
    There would not be any fumbling. The area is well-defined
  • Reply 13 of 83
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Ah, you're a gripper! :D
    So try moving that finger around to the front sensor with that hand. How's that work for you compared to touching the back with that index finger if the sensor were there?

    He'll use his thumb like 99% of Touch ID users.
  • Reply 14 of 83

    The rumour of Fingerprint Cards possibly supplying technology to a Google product is interesting since that company is considered a bit of a stock scam here in Sweden. They have been promising the moon consistently to investors for the last few years and have delivered very little on their promises. This has resulted in an extremely volatile valuation of the company and the current CEO is even under investigation for insider trading. He is currently considered the worst CEO of any listed company here in Sweden.

     

    Sounds like they have found a perfect match in Google then?

  • Reply 15 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    jonteponte wrote: »
    The rumour of Fingerprint Cards possibly supplying technology to a Google product is interesting since that company is considered a bit of a stock scam here in Sweden. They have been promising the moon consistently to investors for the last few years and have delivered very little on their promises. This has resulted in an extremely volatile valuation of the company and the current CEO is even under investigation for insider trading. He is currently considered the worst CEO of any listed company here in Sweden.

    Sounds like they have found a perfect match in Google then?
    ??
    Where did you find that rumor?
  • Reply 16 of 83
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    I either wave my hand over my phone if I don 't feel like picking it up or I simply pick it up if there's some action I want to perform. . Sensor of the back is common sense if it's primary purpose is identity verification for payments. Only one hand needed, the one you're already holding your phone with. What benefit is there to making the phone larger/taller just to fit yet something else on the face?

    Do you even read what you write!?

    If you have an active fingerprint sensor you can’t wave or just pick up the phone, you need to use the sensor to unlock it first!

  • Reply 17 of 83
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Sensor on the back makes a lot of sense to me. Where is your index finger when you're holding your phone? Making it an even larger phone by adding chin-space for the sensor on the front is what wouldn't make sense. Does it to you?



    Who cares where my index finger is when I'm holding the phone? When I am taking my iPhone put of my pocket, I pinch the bottom part with my thumb on the home button so I can activate the screen at the same time. I have done this since before I had TouchID; the only difference is now my iPhone is unlocked by the time I am looking at the screen.

  • Reply 18 of 83
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,837member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Sensor on the back makes a lot of sense to me. Where is your index finger when you're holding your phone? Making it an even larger phone by adding chin-space for the sensor on the front is what wouldn't make sense. Does it to you?
    Sure... Unlock the phone when it's on the surface.... Enter pin? That defeat the convenience of fingerprint sensor
  • Reply 19 of 83
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,678member
    I do not understand. I read that in 2011 Motorola Atrix4G was using Authentech fingerprint sensor. How Apple was able to buy Authentech in 2012 without Motorola knowing it or objecting? Doesn.t Authentech need to continue supply sensors to Motorola?
  • Reply 20 of 83
    tzeshan wrote: »
    I do not understand. I read that in 2011 Motorola Atrix4G was using Authentech fingerprint sensor. How Apple was able to buy Authentech in 2012 without Motorola knowing it or objecting? Doesn.t Authentech need to continue supply sensors to Motorola?

    AuthenTec made parts for many companies for years.

    Then Apple offered to buy AuthenTec for $356,000,000

    AuthenTec accepted.

    That should be easy to understand :D
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