Fingerprint scanners are nothing new in the smartphone industry, as the first piece of the technology was released way back in 2011 by Motorola’s Atrix line. When Apple announced the same kind of tech accompanying the iPhone 5s, a lot of people were excited. A lot of others realized that it was no big deal.

fingerprint scanners

Motorola may have had the first fingerprint scanners, but Apple stole the hype.

Considering the hype that surrounded the release of the iPhone 5s, one might wonder why more smartphone manufacturers didn’t jump on board at the first opportunity (only a few did). The answer to that question isn’t complicated.

Back in 2013, Apple held all the leverage.

Last year, Google’s Nexus 6 was scheduled to include fingerprint scanners, but the crafty feature was abandoned due to lack of quality supply. It shouldn’t be that surprising that Apple had already anticipated the reaction of other smartphone makers. According to Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, Apple moved quickly to ensure that it controlled the supply.

fingerprint scanners

Google’s Nexus 6 almost had fingerprint scanners, but Apple made it difficult to find a worthy supplier.

…It was supposed to be fingerprint recognition, and Apple bought the best supplier. So the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren’t there yet.

What’s next for smartphone fingerprint scanners?

Smartphone manufacturers have made up for lost time, and the technology is now more widely available. Google’s Nexus 5 will reportedly have fingerprint scanners, but not for heightened security. The massive company plans to include a system called Android Pay that should allow it to compete with Apple Pay. Both are methods of digital payment that could lead society to move away from cash and coin.

It’s not often we have anything bad to say about a company like Apple, but there’s always reason to wonder about a company’s success. Is it okay for one company to as much leverage as Apple did–if only for a short amount of time–or should supply be open to all companies willing to invest in the new technology in order to increase competition among businesses within the same industry? Let us know your thoughts.


About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running MMR, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.