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How do you feel about the onslaught of biometric sensors on our mobile devices?

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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How do you feel about the onslaught of biometric sensors on our mobile devices?
Not that we haven't had biometric sensors on electronic devices before, but Apple opened the floodgates with its unique Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s. It only requires your thumb or other registered digit to briefly touch it, and the phone unlocks like magic, or you can use it as an iTunes ID for purchase authorizations. A bunch of other manufacturers followed suit, as did HTC with the rear sensor on the One max, Pantech with the Vega Secret, and, recently, the almighty Samsung with the Galaxy S5's Finger Scanner, embedded in the home key, just like Apple's Touch ID.

Samsung decided to add another sensor - a pulse reader, tied into its S Health app. While the rumored eye-scanning tech never materialized, someone could very well decide to include that, too, at some point. While Samsung's solution is more cumbersome to use with one hand than Touch ID, requiring some extra movements and funky initial setup, it eventually walks the walk. HTC and Pantech put the finger scanners on the back, so they are easier to reach, as their devices are big phablets, but we are not only talking ergonomics and performance here, and security as well. 

Granted, Apple sandboxes the Touch ID readings in the A7 processor itself, and doesn't share them with any 3rd party apps or services, while Samsung says it has taken utmost precautions, too. The Galaxy S5, however, now houses your heart rate records, too, and soon enough phones might start scanning your iris to unlock, or measure your blood pressure readings. We've already seen a few ways to trick Touch ID for fun, or security researchers trying to hack into it. That is why we decided to ask whether you are enthusiastic, level-headed, or paranoid about the proliferation of such biometric sensors on everyday mobile devices. Checkmark where you stand in the poll, and tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Phonearena polls
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How do you feel about the onslaught of biometric sensors on our mobile devices?
21.55%
253 votes
(253 votes) Are you kidding? Passwords are dying, I've been waiting for biometric identification since my first sci-fi movie!
42.25%
496 votes
(496 votes) I might use biometrics, if they are convenient and secure
36.2%
425 votes
(425 votes) No, thanks, I don't want some enterprising hackers or the NSA to obtain my prints, iris or health metrics

1174 votes


23 Comments
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posted on 10 Apr 2014, 07:39 8

1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5854; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


No thanks. I would rather see the $ spent on biometrics used to either lower the cost of the phone, or increase the hardware specs (RAM, SoC, screen resolution, etc.).

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 07:41 3

2. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2691; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Yes, I might use biometrics, if they are convenient and secure.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 07:42

3. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2931; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


If I could operate all the stuff in my house by using different fingers on my phone it would be nice.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:24 1

4. -Shadow- (Posts: 26; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


I actually don't even use password for my phone so for me are unneeded, but i can see their use and is good to see technology progress

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:24

5. cR203 (Posts: 188; Member since: 27 Jan 2013)


I don't think biometrics are a bad idea. I think they can be really convenient as long as they're safe and secure. I actually kinda like the idea of having a fingerprint scanner.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:52

15. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 968; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


they're not a bad idea but they're gonna get milked to death it's yucky plus i'm sure there are more things we can invest in phones that can be alot more beneficial then some sensors that take the price up by $200

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:26 1

6. Legnaldo (Posts: 32; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I have it set up on my work iPhone 5s but seriously; out of 100 tries it works about 2 times. Deleting the registered fingers and resetting it up will bring it up to maybe 75 times out of a 100 for a few days; then back to nothing again. I love the idea but the implementation is awful. I hope Samsung does it better when I upgrade my S4 to the S5; or eventually the Note 4.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:34

7. AfterShock (Posts: 2812; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


No I don't care for biometrics being added to my phone at all.
Had a LG Expo back the dark ages, realized that none are %100 to this very day.

If I wanted fancy unreliable fad type crap, I'd buy an iPhone.

Good day.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 15:20

22. ecmedic4 (Posts: 202; Member since: 02 May 2013)


So are you saying the fingerprint scanner in the S5 is a fancy unreliable fad? My guess would be no, since you only like to hate on Apple.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:36 1

8. Antonyjoseph (Posts: 215; Member since: 06 Apr 2013)


I have an S4, but lot of my friends and colleagues have the 5S. I am yet to see any of them using this facility after the first 1 or 2 days. I think its just for bragging rights and also because companies have run out of ideas for new features.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:37

9. raunak (Posts: 505; Member since: 12 Oct 2011)


Only iPhone's integration is convenient for now. Samsung's is just stupid.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:30 1

12. iushnt (Posts: 666; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)


That's only in terms of one hand use. Samsung on the other side have implemented good support for online purchase like eBay and more coming up..

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:39

10. chocowii (Posts: 327; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)


Not all people end up using those biometrics but end up paying them becuase it comes with the device. Rendering it a waste of money.
Yeah yall say, 'dont buy that device if you are not using it' but most of us buy that device for some other reasons like for gaming, photography, business or office work. I think the best idea is to have those devices with the option of not having those biometrics installed. Plus, others also worries of having those biometric data to be abused in some way or another.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 08:51

11. _Bone_ (Posts: 2132; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


I do not have a lockscreen currently but use power key to homescreen on my Nexus 4, but I do like the idea of payment and restricting access to personal content via finger input. No question that Apple's way is more comfortable than Samsung's, but what will device if either is a gimmick is what we'll be able to do with it by the end of the year.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:34 1

13. fzacek (Posts: 1862; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


It's not as important as most people make it to be...

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:39

14. vipervoid123 (Posts: 128; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


If it is good enough ~
And have great pirvate secuirty toward users ~
It will be great ~

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 09:52

16. joaolx (Posts: 354; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Stop with the NSA and the fingerprints and such, like they don't have access to them already.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 10:30

17. zachattack (Posts: 579; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)


All of these options sucked lol, i'm not afraid of and don't give two s**ts about the NSA. The No option should have said "No, because they're f****** stupid and who in their right mind wants to copy apple"

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 11:02 1

18. The_Innovation (Posts: 562; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)


How would the NSA know who's using the phone? I can have 10 fingers scanned for 5 different people. Not to mention that the government already has prints on file. I understand the concerns, but I think it's being blown out of proportion a bit with all these conspiracies.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 11:46

19. techperson211 (Posts: 673; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Nothing to use for it though.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 12:00

20. Nabil2511 (Posts: 149; Member since: 27 Jan 2014)


its useful if it's integrated on the screen itself.. and not at the bottom like S5.. like at a specific area where it is easy to access

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 13:20

21. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


I dont see how 4 or 5 devices out of hundreds is an onslaught, honestly couldn't the R&D on sensors like these be used to do things like say, better camera sensors, remove the sensors for slightly more compact devices, higher res front camera as in the M8, or using that money to develop higher end processors quicker? Money in the industry nowadays is used idiotically by Apple and Samsung so they can brag they have this or that. Why not actually improve upon these devices to release something truly revolutionary instead of putting a new sensor on it, upping the camera res, and saying its a brand new device. In my opinion a truly amazing device hasn't been released since the release of the Galaxy S2, ever since its been a massive spec war.

posted on 10 Apr 2014, 20:11

23. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 746; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


I'd rather not use biometrics, but I also don't care about the NSA spying on me

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