These days, it’s hard to find a phone without a fingerprint sensor. But not all fingerprint sensors are created equal. Take Samsung, for example, which shipped the Galaxy S5 with a swipe-based fingerprint sensor that didn’t always work reliably. The Seoul, South Korea-based company switched to a much better touch-based sensor for the Galaxy S6, but two years later, Samsung was back in hot water for the Galaxy S8 and the S8 Plus’s awkward rear-mounted, off-centered fingerprint scanner. But it might make amends with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.
A Commercial Times report identifies Taiwan-based Egis Technology (Egistec) as the most likely fingerprint supplier for Samsung’s fingerprint scanners, which are said to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2018. Historically, Samsung’s been Egistec’s biggest customer — the biometrics firm supplies fingerprint sensors for its Galaxy A, C and J series smartphones. But if it nabs the Galaxy S9 series contract, it’ll mark the first time it’s cut into the supply chain for Samsung’s flagship phones.
It’d be payday for the Taiwan-based company. The Commercial Times report estimated that Egistec would generate net profits of as high as NT$2 billion (about $66.6 million) in 2018 by winning orders for fingerprint sensors for the Galaxy S9 series. That’d be up from net profits of NT$434 million (about $14 million) in the first three quarters of 2017, from losses of NT$65.64 million a year earlier.
According to the latest leak by Evan Blass on VentureBeat, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are expected to feature fingerprint sensors on the back. However, the fingerprint sensor will be placed vertically below the camera and the heart rate monitor, ditching the off-centered layout of the phones’ predecessors. It remains to be seen how good the speed and accuracy of the new fingerprint sensors will be, but judging by Egis Technology’s expertise, there’s nothing to worry about.