The Nexus 6 almost had a fingerprint scanner, according to the Android source code

The Nexus 6 almost had a fingerprint scanner, according to the Android source code
There are some ideas that Google has for its Nexus devices that don't quite make it to production. We've already seen that tap-to-wake had been coded for the Nexus 6, but pulled at the last minute (and can now be re-enabled by some hackery, if you've rooted). Now, there is some Android source code that is indicating that the Nexus 6 almost had a fingerprint scanner. Not only that, but the code indicates that Google was (and still is) working on an official fingerprint API for Android. 

Noted code sleuth Ron Amadeo has dug through the commits to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and found the evidence. There was a commit from late August that was blatantly labeled as "shamu: remove fingerprint support", which implied that prototypes had been using a fingerprint scanner from Validity Sensors, Inc, a company that was acquired by Synaptics last year. The company has shown off clear touchscreen-based fingerprint scanners in the past, which are pretty cool and wouldn't require the big bezel that you'll find on an iPhone. 

There are also commits to AOSP which were used to hide the fingerprint API code in Lollipop "until new API is ready". There were indications that it would be a swipe style fingerprint scanner similar to those used by Samsung, rather than the TouchID sensor on an iPhone. And, part of the code pointed to functionality which would allow you to access or authenticate specific apps with your fingerprint. 

It all sounds pretty sweet. It's just a shame it didn't make it in time for the Nexus 6 release. We'd say that it wouldn't be a surprise to see that fingerprint API in Android 5.1 next year though. 

source: Ars Technica

Related phones

Nexus 6
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3220 mAh(24h talk time)



1. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Non-swipe fingerprint scanner or nothing at all.

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Also fingerprint reader should be on the back E.g. where the Moto dimple is or LG's back buttons So no big bottom bezel, which leads to a big top bezel for symmetry, and an overall taller phone E.g. the 5.5" 6+ is as tall as the 6" Nexus 6 with front stereo speakers Especially since this 6" phablet is already too big for many people

18. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

I am actually waiting for an on-screen finger-print scanner. No need of extra space then. (Another possibility can be the camera lens as a sensor, though its unlikely and leave smudges on the lens)

19. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

The screen would have to be extra sensitive, which may drain more battery life than necessary

2. Derekjeter

Posts: 1465; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

When will the Nexus 6 come to Verizon???? I thought Google said every major carrier was going to get it.

4. wafflemuncherr

Posts: 23; Member since: May 29, 2013

My buddy got one through Google and was able to pop in his nanoSim and have it work through Verizon. I was just playing with it the other day. Beastly.

7. Derekjeter

Posts: 1465; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

WTF?!??!?! Really?

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Yeah. I thought you would have known this?

15. Derekjeter

Posts: 1465; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Can you get full LTE with the Verizon sim? I can't find anything on the web about it working on Verizon

16. Derekjeter

Posts: 1465; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Holy sh!t I just found a video that shows it works full LTE and everything!! I'm selling my note right now Nexus here a come

22. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1773; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

I can confirm it is working for me as well. I couldn't wait until Verizon decided to sell it with their bloat and logo most likely.

5. somad

Posts: 169; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

So Verizon the last come to party! !

6. jjjsong

Posts: 76; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

I really don't care for finger print at all. Seems gimmicky and a waste of money.

10. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

How is it a waste of money...?

11. jjjsong

Posts: 76; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

to have them manufactured and put in the phone. also a waste of space, too!

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Cost from iPhone 5 to 5S increased but sold at the same price. What's your reasoning for that?

14. jjjsong

Posts: 76; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

I don't know? probably they were able to reduce the manufacturing cost somewhere, like using the same screen. And this has nothing to do with the iphone5 or 5s. If they were to add more components in the nexus 6 then there will be more manufacturing cost, even if it's just 10cents more. And the cost will come down to the consumers one way or the other.

12. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Nexus 6 would not have costed $50 more if it had fingerprint scanner, so as far as I'm concerned it's waste of money for consumer for not having it. In Motorola point of view, yeah, it might have been waste of money, but on the other hand it would've been great for marketing and consumers and maybe even overall satisfaction of phone, because it's quite useful and "premium" feature.

17. g2a5b0e unregistered

Not seeing your logic here. Every single phone that launched with a fingerprint scanner cost no more than its previous iteration. For example, the 5S, S5, & Note 4 all cost the same at launch as the 5, S4, & Note 3, respectively. Granted, you can't make the same direct comparison between the Nexus 6 & 5, but it doesn't necessarily make sense to assume a simple fingerprint scanner would have hiked the price up either.

8. EC112987

Posts: 1214; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

I'm still mad the AT&T N6 didn't work properly and they wanted me to wait 3 weeks for a replacement. :( fingerprint is convenient but sucks on The Note 4. The iPhone scanner works best for me but I have sausage fingers lol

20. jasonmadura161

Posts: 12; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

The Nexus 6 almost had an actual launch where people could buy it too! Imagine that.... All this stuff it has and almost had.... yet.... is any of it relevant as it is damn near unobtainable? Please save me the "cop-outs" of "be patient" and the "they didn't expect the demands." Move along trolls....

21. Blazers

Posts: 731; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I really wanted to get the Nexus 6, but the lack of an IR blaster is a deal breaker for me. I've gotten so used to using my phone as a replacement remote, I can't go back. I could careless about the lack of a fingerprint scanner....

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