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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may not get an in-screen fingerprint sensor even if the tech is ready

In-screen fingerprint sensor
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The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is expected to launch in three months, and it may do so without the rumored in-screen fingerprint sensor we've all been waiting for.

Samsung's ultrasonic-based 'fingerprint on-display technology' is said to be complete, according to a report by Korean site Chosun (opens in new tab). Implementation doesn't appear to be the problem.

Instead, the company is thought to be holding back from using it in the Note 9 by choice, in order to increase yield and improve the accuracy. We saw similar ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor technology at Qualcomm before the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch, and the demo was still crude.

It's true that Vivo and Huawei have both launched phones with in-screen fingerprint sensors, but ones that use very different optical-based technology. That's said to be easier to implement, but less accurate than ultrasonic fingerprint sensors.

Cue the Samsung Galaxy S10 in-screen sensor

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus were the first Samsung phones anticipated to ship with an in-screen fingerprint sensor. That, of course, didn't happen for many of the same reasons – it wasn't ready yet.

The S8 and Note 8 phones, instead, gave us an awkward off-set fingerprint sensor on the back. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus fixed this issue to a degree with a center-aligned rear-facing fingerprint sensor.

Remember when this off-set rear-facing fingerprint sensor was a thing? An in-screen fingerprint sensor may fix that.

Remember when this off-set rear-facing fingerprint sensor was a thing? An in-screen fingerprint sensor may fix that.

The wait is almost over for a better solution, according to today's report. We may finally get the first Samsung device with a behind-glass fingerprint reader via the Samsung Galaxy S10, two years after all of the rumored started.

This will be a welcome addition for long-time Samsung users who familiar with the fingerprint reader that was integrated on the front home button (on the S7 and S7 Edge). If it happens on time with the S10, expect a February unveiling at MWC 2019.

As it stands, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is poised to launch with an S Pen and a specs upgrade, but not an in-screen fingerprint, despite all of the back-and-forth rumors about the feature.

Matt Swider is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Formerly TechRadar's US Editor-in-Chief, he began his tech journalism career all the way back in 1999 at the age of 14. He's tested over 1,000 phones, tablets and wearables and commands a Twitter account of 1m+ followers. Matt received his journalism degree from Penn State University.