It looks like fingerprint gestures aren’t hot just for Xiaomi and other Chinese OEMs anymore. Google built a fingerprint notification swipe inside the Pixel phones and now apparently, Samsung is working on such an implementation of its own, as these patent applications reveal.
Although the patent does indicate gestures for the fingerprint sensor, it doesn’t necessarily give much detail in the way of what these gestures would enable for users. It does however suggest that it would be compatible with multiple different aspects of the device, and if that’s the case then users may be able to expect the fingerprint swipe gestures on Samsung phones to include more than just one single action, so perhaps they would be able to open up apps, send quick replies from message templates and so on.
Judging by the image above that comes from the patent filing, Samsung is looking to incorporate the gestures in more than just one direction. So a swipe downward on the fingerprint sensor would initiate one gesture action, while there would also be gesture actions for a swipe left, a swipe right, and a swipe up. Although it is important to point out here that Samsung’s patent does not actually appear to depict a swipe down, just swipes up, left, and right. The image also shows a different result for each action. For example, a swipe left based on the patent image shows the dialer open, while a swipe right shows a conversation in messages, and a swipe up shows what looks like an open app or browser.
If all of this sounds similar to you, (but I’m guessing not to most of you) it is because Lenovo has already highlighted a similar feature on its flagship killer, the Zuk Z2 Plus which packs in flagship level specs for even cheaper than a One Plus 3. Lenovo calls it U-touch on the Z2 Plus wherein just the single home button performs every possible function you can imagine from being all the three navigation buttons on android to being the fingerprint sensor equipped with customizable gestures that can easily swipe between different apps for example.
All of this can sound overwhelming in theory for just a single button, but in practice, it is so much better. Once you get used to operating it that is. And this is why, I think if Samsung implements something like U-touch, it will be awesome. Unlike the “amazing experiences” offered by the iPhone’s taptic home button (which is not really a button anymore), U-Touch is actually an amazing experience.
The patent application was submitted a year and a half ago, which means there’s a good chance that the technology is ready to ship – especially since Google, Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei (and possibly other Chinese OEMs) already have phones that do something similar with their fingerprint scanners. Perhaps the Galaxy S8 and its rumored optical fingerprint sensor will be the first to introduce the technology.
Let’s not forget though that just because Samsung now owns a patent for this implementation of fingerprint scanner gestures in their home country, doesn’t mean we will see it in a product they will sell. Companies own lots of patents for things that are never used in their own products. So this might just be something that Samsung wants to keep in their trove of patents, but we could see it brought to life in an upcoming smartphone or tablet.