Samsung has unveiled its latest Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus flagship devices, with support for iris and facial recognition technology and a fingerprint sensor which is now located on the back of the phone. Samsung Pass deals with major banks, an expansion of Samsung Pay to include online payments and details of its Bixby virtual assistant have also been announced.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will come equipped with a new Infinity Display for a “truly immersive viewing experience” and a dedicated button for Bixby, Samsung’s voice-activated virtual assistant, which will be integrated into several Samsung services including camera, contacts, gallery, messages and settings at launch.
An iris scanner and facial recognition technology have been built into the front of the devices to allow owners to unlock their phones without having to type a password or PIN code, while a fingerprint scanner located at the back of the phone will let owners continue to use their fingerprint to gain access.
Security and convenience
“We saw an opportunity to make users’ lives safer and easier through biometric authentication,” Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of product strategy, told attendees during the company’s Unpacked event. “Now instead of typing a password, you are the password. It’s the perfect combination of security and convenience.
“One of the most exciting examples of this is the iris scanner, which matches your iris and creates a unique digital signature. An eye print instead of a fingerprint. It’s the most secure form of biometrics security we’ve ever created.
“Now, sometimes you just really want to get into your phone really quickly. So we’ve perfected a form of biometrics that let’s you do just that — it’s called face recognition. Let’s say you wanted to unlock your phone right now. The first thing you do is you take your phone and you see the lock screen — with face recognition, there are no other steps.
“You just hold your S8 in front of your face and it will pull up your home screen instantly. You can still use the fingerprint scanner, but we moved that to the back of the phone to make space for all that extra screen. You can choose to use a pattern, a password or a PIN to protect your phone as well.”
Samsung Pass — a feature which lets users easily log into mobile banking apps and websites on the Samsung internet browser using biometric authentication — is also set to expand into more financial services across the US, Europe and Asia through partnerships with Bank of America, US Bank, Mastercard, Visa and “others”, Denison added.
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones will both come equipped with Samsung Pay support, which is now available through 870 banks around the world and has been used to perform more than 240m transactions since launch, while the expansion into online payments will take place through “strategic partnerships with companies like Visa Checkout”.
“Consumers around the world have used Samsung Pay for about a quarter of a billion transactions to date — that number is just going to keep going,” Denison explained.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available from 21 April 2017 in midnight black, orchid grey, Arctic silver, coral blue and maple gold.