Apple, Samsung race to put fingerprint tech on tablets, despite market growth worries

Aside from being rivals in the smartphone space, the two electronics giants are pushing hard to develop fingerprint technology to cater for their business users.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

Apple and Samsung are racing to include the previously seen fingerprint technology on their respective tablet ranges — or face isolation from a lucrative business market.

A new report published on Monday points to Samsung moving to include its fingerprint technology to at least one of its tablets, dubbed the Galaxy Tab S, which will land in two sizes — an 8.4-inch and a 10.5-inch tablet, donning the fingerprint scanner already included in its Galaxy S5 smartphone.

It's hoped with the inclusion of the fingerprint scanner, Samsung can port across its fingerprint unlock, PayPal mobile payments, and other single sign-on technology to its tablet base.

That tablet base, of course, has a significant bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and business and enterprise customer base.

It's a logical next move for Samsung. The same can be said for Apple's iPad, which as of yet has not received the biometric technology, but is expected to land with it when the next-generation iPad lands at a later date this year.

Apple and Samsung remain in a deep battle over not only smartphones, patents, but also tablets.

Although Apple has the majority share of the tablet market at 32.5 percent, it's down 16 percent year-over-year, while Samsung's 22.3 percent is rising by 32 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.

At this rate, Samsung could become the market leader in the tablet space — albeit with a larger range of devices than Apple — by the middle of next year. And that's even taking into account the slowdown of the tablet market, which is slated by research firm IDC to have grown by just 3.9 percent over the previous 12 months, ending April.

Considering the decline in growth estimates, fingerprint tech may well be the kicker that will drive the non-consumer user base into snapping up tablets like never before. Increased security alone and the ability to encrypt data locally (and in the cloud) with a fingerprint could be enough to convince even the most stubborn chief information officer that the larger counterpart to their fingerprint-enabled smartphones could be worth buying in droves.

Whichever company gets there first doesn't particularly matter. The likelihood is that Samsung will dish out details on its fingerprint-enabled forthcoming tablet in June, while Apple may wait until September, or as late as November, to launch its next round of iPads, in accordance with its historic release schedule.

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