Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy S5 could feature eye scanning technology, according to reports, in a move that would help the South Korean smartphone maker trump the Apple iPhone 5s' fingerprint sensor.
Speaking to Bloomberg at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile business, said that many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology.
“We are studying the possibility but can’t really say whether we will have it or not on the S5,” he said.
However, he did confirm that the Galaxy S5 will be paired with a successor to the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, featuring more advanced functions and a sleeker design.
With the launch of the iPhone 5s in September 2013, Apple introduced Touch ID, which allows users to unlock their iPhone by simply touching their finger to the home button.
Analysts predicted that the fingerprint sensor would build legitimacy for the technology in mainstream consumer electronics, but warned that privacy concerns were bound to arise.
Security issues also emerged just days after the launch, when a group of German hackers found a way to bypass Apple's TouchID, demonstrating that biometrics are not necessarily the most secure method of access control.
Samsung accounts for around a third of the global smartphone market. However, the company's operating profits fell by 18pc to $8.3 trillion won (€5.8bn) between October and December 2013, and the company is bracing itself for its weakest smartphone profit growth since 2007.
Its mobile devices business will come under increased pressure when Apple makes its phones available from January 17 via China Mobile, the world's largest mobile phone operator, through which Samsung has been selling smartphones for around seven years.
Reports at the end of last year suggested that Samsung could bring forward the launch of its Galaxy S5 in an attempt to boost sales figures. The release is currently timed for after February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, according to Bloomberg.
It is thought that the device could come in two versions – one metal and one plastic. The display size is expected to be around 5 inches, using Super AMOLED technology and with a pixel density of around 560ppi. Other rumoured specs include a 16-Megapixel camera, 3GB of RAM and a 4,000MaH battery.
“The release of the S5 will be very important to Samsung,” Lee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities, told Bloomberg. “Competition is going to intensify, and it’s not going to be an easy year for the company.”