Device security is a major factor these days. Google implemented device encryption in Android 5.0 (Lollipop), but according to a commit that’s been discovered in AOSP, there was originally supposed to be a hardware component to device security on the Nexus 6, right up until a few months before release.

The commit was discovered by Ars Technica and prove just how quickly manufacturers can adapt to design changes. A commit to AOSP at the end of August, lablled ‘shamu: remove fingerprint support’ was added, effectively ending support for fingerprint scanners on the device. Shamu of course is the code-name for the Nexus 6, so that lines up with the hardware. Hardware wise, the line ‘system/vendor/lib/hw/ValidityPersistentData:synaptics’ points to hardware support from Validity Sensors, Inc., a company involved in the manufacture and development of fingerprint sensors, which was acquired by Synaptics last year.

Further commits, show that Google intended to release a complete fingerprint API to tie-in with the hardware component, paving the way for further devices to include Fingerprint scanners. Fingerprint scanning could have been used as a way to authenticate from the lock-screen, joining Face Unlock, Pin and Pattern as ways to unlock your phone. It could also apparently have been used as a way to open apps.

Secure access ties in with Google’s work with the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) alliance, who just released a version 1.0 spec of their proposed standard for a Universal Authentication Framework. This framework actually supports Fingerprint scanners such as the one found on the iPhone 6, albeit through some clever work from FIDO Alliance founding member Nok Nok Labs.

While fingerprint scannning isn’t present on the Nexus 6, perhaps we’ll see more work on this in Android M, and the next Nexus phone or tablet, as device and information security becomes more and more important moving forward.

Would you use fingerprint scanning on your phone to secure information?

Source: Ars Technica.
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Anothert thing Nexus 6 missed out on doing.


Let’s can buy the device first

Darren Ferguson

Interestingly, in the US, you don’t have to give up a password (5th amendment) but they can use fingerprint unlock to get into your phone.

Shane Lord

This probably matches rumors the Moto X 2014 was supposed to have a fingerprint scanner where the M indent is on the back. I think ifixit or similar have traced the disconnected wires leading from it to the main board. Shame – this is a missed opportunity.

Daniel Tyson

Missed opportunity or maybe they’re polishing it up nicely to work spectacularly on Android M – I dunno. I’d love a fingerprint scanner, but I don’t want it to be terrible.

Brad Hook

Until they can at least match the beauty that is Apple’s TouchID, there’s no point with fingerprint scanners.

I’ve recently moved to an iPhone 6 Plus, and at first – I wasn’t even going to check out TouchID as I wrote it off as a gimmick. Boy, was I wrong. Now I can’t imagine life without it! It simply never fails. Not once has my attempt been denied in the month and a half I’ve owned the device.

The only down side is they don’t allow scanning for all 10 of your fingers/thumbs, only 5.

Daniel Tyson

You should probably look at the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 fingerprint scanner. It’s being lauded as a fantastic piece of equipment and Scott has also found it to be pretty good as well.

Brad Hook

Is it a ‘place on’ or ‘swipe over’ sensor?

The swipe ones do my head in. Have one on my laptop.

Daniel Tyson

It’s a ‘place’ and from reviews it works as well as the Apple one. I`m trying to get the review unit from Scott, but I believe he mentioned the phrase ‘Cold Dead Hands’.


Being able to order the damn thing would be nice.