Apple’s iPhone 5s, as is so often the case with new, flagship smartphones launched by the Cupertino company, brought quite a few new and exciting features unprecedented in the mainstream smartphone market, and as well as being the first to include a 64-bit processor, the aluminum-clad handset’s ‘Touch ID’ fingerprint sensor is also the first of its kind. Now The FIDO Alliance, a cluster of almost fifty companies pooling ideas on an eventual successor to the traditional password, reckons that Android devices could soon start to see something similar to Touch ID in as little as six months.
Naturally, and given the historical context of the Apple-Samsung collide, we perhaps expected the South Korean company to be among the first to bring a Touch ID-incarnate to its broad range of devices. After all, Samsung and Apple have both called each other out for copying products and stealing one another’s intellectual property, and given how the former recently announced two variants of its special Galaxy S4 Gold Edition, it’s fair to say that the tech world wouldn’t have been too shocked had the company came through with a fingerprint-sensing edition for immediate release.
Michael Barrett, president of the FIDO Alliance, noted that the group’s intention is to “allow consumers to have access to mobile services that they can use with very low friction, while keeping good security.” It has been well documented, even in the early stages of the iPhone 5s’s life cycle, that the fingerprint sensor is incredibly secure – many times more so than the traditional password – and with no reported complaints of hackers being able to override the new feature in any way, it would seem sensible for the rest of the field to follow suit.
The FIDO Alliance’s motives are to deliver an open standard that benefits the consumer market as a whole, and with a list of influential partners including Android creators Google, it will certainly serve as quite a powerful body as we move on to different methods and modes of authentication.
Even though it would seem unlikely that Apple would join FIDO, Barrett remains optimistic, adding that “it’s possible Apple might choose to start using FIDO,” before stressing that any coalition is “probably a couple of years out.”