While fingerprint scanners had not hit mainstream devices at a major level till Apple decided to include it with the latest-generation iPhone, the iPhone 5s, calling it Touch ID, it looks like the Android device bandwagon will also get its own version of the technology in six months, if a new report is to be believed.
The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance a group of 48 technology companies, which was founded by the likes of Lenovo and PayPal is working on a new technical standard for biometric fingerprint scanners to be featured on Android smartphones.
In an interview
with USA Today, Michael Barrett, president of the FIDO Alliance has said that the initial FIDO-equipped Android devices, will roll out in early 2014 along with services that use the FIDO protocols.
"The intention of FIDO is absolutely that it will allow consumers to have access to mobile services that they can use with very low friction, while keeping good security," said Barrett.
It's not clear as to which device makers and services would choose to include FIDO but prominent members of the alliance include LG, BlackBerry, Google, Lenovo and PayPal. So it's likely that these players choose to integrate the standard with their devices and services.
It's worth pointing out that Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor is not FIDO-compliant but Barrett informed that Touch ID could easily be adapted to FIDO but it will take a couple of years.
According to its website, the FIDO Alliance aims to develop specifications that define an open, scalable, interoperable set of mechanisms that supplant reliance on passwords to securely authenticate users of online services. It essentially wants to build a ubiquitous biometric standard that works across different devices and online services that require authentication.
It's worth mentioning that Apple's Touch ID allows users to unlock the phone, by simply placing a finger on the Home button. It can also be used to confirm purchases made on the App Store, iBookstore or the iTunes Store.