back to article Erase 2017 from your brain. Face ID never happened. The Notch is an illusion

Apple is said to have made a virtue out of a necessity with its iPhone X – creating the notorious "Notch" to house a sophisticated facial-recognition system, Face ID. Arch-rival Samsung didn't do away its fingerprint sensor, but perched it awkwardly on the rear of its Galaxy S and Note models. Both companies had made these …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Once they work out how to place a front-facing camera under the screen then yeah, *then* they'll dispense with the notch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't really understand the point of the notch anyway - it's far more visually intrusive in use than a separate sensor bar, which you don't even notice unless prompted to think about it, is. Well of course yes I do, it's a ridiculous obsession with form over function.

    2. goldcd

      I'd happily own a phone

      without a front-facing camera. Unless you video call or take selfies, not sure what the need is.

      Fully aware many people do want one, but can't think it's less used than say the headphone jack the industry seems to be removing.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        without a front-facing camera. Unless you video call or take selfies, not sure what the need is.

        I've had at least one Samsung which had a feature whereby it would suppress the screen lock timeout if it thought you were still looking at the phone, and I'm assuming it used to front-facing camera for that. No ID of specific faces, just knowing that the phone was being looked at.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: I'd happily own a phone

          I rarely if ever use my front-facing camera, but I would never try and sell a phone without one.

          Previous responses to the same design intent of maximising the screen area include:

          Mi Mix. Camera placed on lower bezel.

          LG V20. Discrete half-width display placed alongside front-facing camera - don't know if it's 'always on' for showing the time etc, but possible power savings if so.

          Essential Phone. Notch in screen, smaller than iPhone X's.

          PS, yeah, I read of a Samsung Galaxy that would attempt to scroll down web pages based on the user's eye movements... don't know how well it worked.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'd happily own a phone

          I'm also not convinced people want finger print scanners on the front. The two phones I used which have fingerprint unlocking seemed to work quite naturally with the scanner at the back. The owners of both phones I borrowed seemed happy with the deal.

          1. Humpty McNumpty

            Huh,

            It sounds like a good idea, until you have your phone on the table, now you have pick it it up to unlock it to read that message you just received...

            While it is in your hand it is more convenient as you normally have a finger there anyway, conceivably having it on the edge could be the best of both worlds...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'd happily own a phone

            I agree that most of the time a sensor on the back in an easily reachable position works well except if the phone is mounted in a cradle in a car or wherever. Then it is less handy

        3. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: I'd happily own a phone

          "I've had at least one Samsung which had a feature whereby it would suppress the screen lock timeout if it thought you were still looking at the phone, and I'm assuming it used to front-facing camera for that."

          Also (on my old Galaxy S3), while on a call the 'keypad' would be suppressed if it thought the phone was next to your cheek - which I imagine must have used the front-facing camera.

          Obviously its purpose was so that you don't hit buttons with your cheek - but when trying to get through a menu on some automated call system, I'd forget and get caught out when I put my other hand over the top to reduce reflections and help me see the buttons... which promptly disappeared.

          1. The Mole

            Re: I'd happily own a phone

            No that was almost certainly done with the ambient light sensor rather than a full camera

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'd happily own a phone

              No that was almost certainly done with the ambient light sensor rather than a full camera

              Certainly was. On some cheap, shitty phones, (eg Samsung Galaxy Ace 3) they took out the light sensor, and had a crappy time based screen lock, that made using such garbage impossible if you had to keep changing between ear and screen use (eg joining a conference call, or even going through your voicemail and managing settings). How I hated that phone. It was of course a corporate choice, by idiots in our IT department who didn't understand the difference between cheap and good value. Although IT desktop and infrastructure had already been outsourced to HPE, causing endless problems for users, and therefore the IT management must have been the ultimate cynics, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

            2. jmch Silver badge

              Re: I'd happily own a phone

              "almost certainly done with the ambient light sensor "

              I've always thought it used the accelerometer for that

            3. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: I'd happily own a phone

              With the Galaxies, anyway, this is done with a dedicated proximity sensor, not the ambient light sensor.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                The notch fades after a few days

                When I bought my X I wasn't certain I was going to keep it - not only because I was unsure about the notch, I also was unsure about giving up some screen width from my 6s plus and whether I'd feel Face ID was as simple as Touch ID.

                After a few days I stopped noticing the notch entirely, it doesn't bother me at all. I think I can see why Apple decided to do that - they want to remain visually distinct from other phones. The iPhone always has been, since no one else aped the big round home button - though it did end up costing them in an inability to reduce bezel size when other phones did in the last few years. They could have simply let the area around the 'notch' be bezel so no notch was required, but I think Ive chose the notch because the combination of that and rounding the screen could probably be successfully defended in court as trade dress.

                The fact Apple haters hate the notch is only a bonus as far as Apple is concerned - no one is going to try to copy it when Android buyers hate it so much, so the iPhone's look will remain unique. Putting form over functionality to some extent has a long history - the shape of the Coke bottle being a prime example. You didn't have to see the label printed on it, if you saw the silhouette of the bottle you knew it was Coca Cola.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: The notch fades after a few days

                  I think this is the most courageous and arduous mental journey I have ever read about: the pain in the opening paragraph seared through me like a hot curry making its final exit, whereas the gentle flower of hope bloomed strong in the second paragraph. By the end of the final paragraph, DougS has discovered his inner lion and finally allowed it to roar. And by God's armpits, it roared!

                  We are with you every step of the way DougS. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

                2. Thunder pants

                  Re: The notch fades after a few days

                  What a bag of shit.... all that do you can look unique? As soon as they have the technology they will get rid of that stupid bezel and mugs like you will all say how great and innovative they are

                3. VicMortimer
                  FAIL

                  Re: The notch fades after a few days

                  If you asked for a list of things I hate about my current iPhone 6+, the bezel will NOT be one of them.

                  I actually LIKE the bezel, and I think an edge to edge display is stupid. A bezel is an area that can safely be covered by a case if you'd like, it gives you a bit more space to hold the phone without covering up the screen, and it's a spot for really useful stuff like speakers, proximity sensors, and the home button. The X method of swiping is NOT as good, not as convenient, and not anywhere close to as intuitive.

                  If I replace this phone in the next year, it's probably going to be with a 7+ or 8+, not an X. (And I'd consider a really good deal on a used 6s+, my main issue at this point is speed, and the 6+ is a little too slow now, not way too slow.) But Face ID is clearly not ready for primetime, and may never be. Apple would be wise to go with something like the amazingly advanced technology, far ahead of its day, of a decent-sized bezel.

                  If they really want to innovate, they could make a thicker phone with larger, significantly higher capacity, easily swappable battery so you can have one charging while the other is attached to the phone; and of course the marvelous invention of a standard headphone jack, but that would probably be too courageous for them.

              2. Mark Jan

                Re: I'd happily own a phone

                I think what most people have described is the new LG V30.

                Pretty crappy front facing camera but fantastic dual cameras on the rear including class leading 4K video.

                And LG have kept the 3.5mm headphone jack and mated the audio with MQA streaming and a Quad DAC. Face ID that actually works as well as a fingerprint sensor placed in a sensible place on the rear of the phone, unlike the S8.

          2. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: I'd happily own a phone

            I have had two Moto E's the previous model did not have a front facing camera and blanked the screen during calls to prevent ear button pressing. I understand it had some form of proximity sensor. Mind you it does work better with the newer model with the front facing camera. I have used it precisely once. To send my one and only selfie, because I could. The youngest in NZ was unimpressed.

        4. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: I'd happily own a phone

          just knowing that the phone was being looked at.

          So now some mindless 'heavy' is going to hassle me 'over looking at his phone' as well as 'his bird'.

          Fingerprint scanner on the screen?

          You want them on the edges, where you generally have your fingertips when holding these idiotic 'razor edged slates/slabs'.

          1. FlippingGerman

            Re: I'd happily own a phone

            "Edges" - cough cough, my poor abandoned Robin...now bigger and more expensive as the Razer Phone!"

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'd happily own a phone

            You want them on the edges, where you generally have your fingertips when holding these idiotic 'razor edged slates/slabs'.

            You happen to be right, for a different reason: that forces the use of a 'swipe' style FP reader which is far better protected against "fingerprint replay". A pad based reader retains the residue of the previous user, which can be used to the FP equivalent of session replay. No such risk with a swipe reader.

            That said, an FP reader on a shiny device is but some work away from being broken into as the shiny outside kindly preserves the required fingerprints for you. I would only ever use the FP reader on my phone if it combined with a code.

        5. goldcd

          Oh actually I did as well

          Samsung S3.

          Loved that phone to bits - until the memory nuked itself and I had to deal with Samsung's customer support.

          Can't be bothered typing the whole story again, but the single time in my life I will never buy from a company ever again.

        6. Field Commander A9

          Re: at least one Samsung which had a feature ..

          That feature puzzles me. If you're looking at your phone for prolonged time without touching it, then you're either watching videos or reading ebooks, and those apps already routinely prevent screen lock.

      2. MrXavia

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        "Unless you video call or take selfies"

        I regularly video chat with friends afar, and when in a group, selfies are a way to ensure you are all in the photo.. SO both functions seem needed.. Then again I don't own an iPhone, I have a sony, with a bezel at the bottom and top to hold onto while taking a selfie or video chatting without accidentally touching the screen....

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: I'd happily own a phone

          SS definitely used the front facing camera to detect a face and not go in sleep when it did so. It wasn't a light sensor - the actual camera. Running low frame rates though, to save power. I worked on it for a while in Sunny S. Korea.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Unhappy

          Re: I'd happily own a phone

          I regularly video chat with friends afar, and when in a group, selfies are a way to ensure you are all in the photo..

          What? Pull yourself together and talk some sense, child.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        "Fully aware many people do want one, but can't think it's less used than say the headphone jack the industry seems to be removing."

        Removing the headphone jack is part of the ongoing war to remove all traces of analog from the tech world. You see this in the removal from FM radio in most flagship smartphones, the transition from FM to DAB radio, phasing out of analog tv to digital tv.

        This is the real World War 3: digital vs analog, binary vs waveforms. Wave is our nature: brain waves, heart pulse, how light and sound get deciphered by the human body.

        I suspect the futurists and transhumanists will continue to wage war on analog reality, especially with the advent of AI and virtual reality.

      4. Annihilator

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        "without a front-facing camera. Unless you video call or take selfies, not sure what the need is."

        OK, but the one thing a phone really does need - a speaker at the top, the face, in order for you to use it for its primary function - a phone.

        I agree, the notch would be largely irrelevant if it was a black bar at the top, not a stupid shape.

      5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        Selfies is what photography is all about these days.

        Apparently more selfies are taken than the total sum of ALL other types of picture( and posted on the internet)

        Can't see the point of them myself and I've seen people put themselves in real danger to get that extra special 'this is me' shot.

        For example, standing on a bridge just a few feet from a Bison who was sheperding her calf across the bridge. Stupidity if not a death wish...

        FaceId is a non starter for anyone who wears safety gear on their heads especially crash helmets.

        I shall stick with my positively ancient but perfectly functioning iPhone 6s(bought from a 'fanboi' who had to have the latest iDevice). TouchId works find for me.

        If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

      6. the Jim bloke Silver badge

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        I have found the selfie camera occasionally useful in a sort of "under-vehicle bomb inspection" role, ie. to read text on pipes etc, that is facing the ground or otherwise obstructed such that I cant see it directly.

        If I can fit the phone in, and hunt around til I see the information I am looking for, its job done, otherwise I have to try and get the engineers to pick an appropriate value...

        Of course, the glossy face of the phone serves almost as well as a mirror, so sometimes I dont bother activating the camera....

      7. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I'd happily own a phone

        Video calling is a pretty core feature surely these days?

    3. Mark M.

      Take it you mean in the centre of the screen, so that when you skype or facetime someone, you're looking straight at them and not to the bottom, top, left, right, wherever the camera pinhole is.

      Just like in the movies.

  2. stuartnz

    "perched it awkwardly on the rear of its Galaxy S and Note models."

    I don't know about the Samsung placement, but on both my V10 and V20, the rear placement of the fnigerprint sensor is perfect. MUCH more user friendly than the front placement of the fingerprint sensor on my Huawei M3 tablet. So much so that learning the Mate 10 has a front fingerprint sensor went into the "cons" column for me when weighing up the pros and cons of getting one.

    1. GregC

      From memory, Samsung have put it right next to the camera or something similarly daft. The rear sensor on my previous Nexus 6P and current Pixel XL are both, like your phones, perfectly positioned for me. A fingerprint sensor on the front doesn't do it for me, under glass or not.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Some people like to be able to unlock the phone without picking it up... if it's sat on a desk or docked, for example.

        I'd be happy for a hybrid approach - if the phone knows that it is in my office or home, then I'd be happy for it to use a potentially less secure face unlocking system.

        Currently I use pattern-unlock (no fingerprint sensor on my phone) which has been shown to be easily observed and thus insecure.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          "if the phone knows that it is in my office or home, then I'd be happy for it to use a potentially less secure face unlocking system."

          On Android, I used Tasker to accomplish this. When the phone in proximity to my home WiFi, I have it disable the lock screen entirely. When near my work WiFi, it switches to a pattern unlock.

      2. Paul 75

        I have the Pixel XL (original, not the 2), and before that the Nexus 5X, and agree with what you said, perfect positioning of the fingerprint sensor. You lose no screen real estate by placing the sensor on the back, and it is a very natural place to put it, if you do it correctly.

        I would much rather keep this than go to face-id or fingerprint on the front of the device.

        So Google and other sanely minded manufacturers, please keep doing it this way!

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      My honor 5x and 7 had the sensor on the back, below the camera.

      It was great, you picked up the phone, a finger would land on the sensor and you'd be off.

      My 9 has it on the front, so it's now a two stage step, which I think is a bit of a step backwards

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And when I pick up my iPhone, as if by a miracle, my thumb falls on the fingerprint sensor.

        Also I regularly use my phone flat on my desk. I can prod it with my index finger (either hand) and off it goes. Having to pick it up and turn it over would be a bit of a step backwards.

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          I don't own a phone with a fingerprint sensor on the back (or anywhere :-) but my guess is that it's comfortable to use only if you use the fingerprint of your main hand's index finger. For the rest of fingers, it would be awkward.

          1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
            Happy

            "but my guess is that it's comfortable to use only if you use the fingerprint of your main hand's index finger"

            I can use the index finger of either hand, I think you can register more than one finger, my honor can store up to five I think. The scanner is perfectly placed on the back as well. Doesn't matter which hand I pick it up with the finger falls naturally to the scanner.

            I'm a bit disappointed to hear they've moved the scanners to the front :(

          2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Which finger to use

            That is the crux of the matter.

            If (an I am guessing here) with devices that have the fingerprint sensor on the rear make it easy to use one finger (of each hand) and more awkward to use your other digits then that in itself makes the device a whole lot less secure.

            How many people will just take the easy route and use the most convienent finger? Just as bad as making your login password 123456?

            worth thinking about perhaps?

  3. AMBxx Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    The future is here!

    Can I have one under the glass of a full sized tablet? Then I could unlock by placing my whole hand on the screen.

    Paris 'cos using palm etc

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: The future is here!

      Only if it does that swooshy laser line up and down the pad.

  4. Spacedinvader
    Thumb Up

    But until then...

    I'll use the finger (thumb) print scanner that's under the power button on my Sony.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: But until then...

      For some reason, possibly an IP dispute, the fingerprint sensor is disabled on Sony phones sold in the USA.

    2. RockBurner

      Re: But until then...

      I'd agree - but in practise it's a pain in the &rs3.

      I've disabled mine again, after I lost count of the number of times I pressed the power button to turn the screen OFF as I placed it in my pocket, and the bloody sensor activated and turned the screen back ON, AND unlocked it! {Deity} knows what I've randomly deleted from the phone due to this.

      It's very engineeringly clever to mix the power/screen and unlock interfaces into one location, but it's not been thought through. :(

      (otherwise the Xperia 5C is a superb phone. :) )

  5. PhilipN Silver badge

    Prefer authentication on the front of the phone

    Balls! iPhone needs two hands to unlock the display. The Pixel needs one. (I have both)

    They are taking a leaf out of MS’s book : This is the only way we have figured out how to do [whatever] and you are GOING to like it!

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Prefer authentication on the front of the phone

      >Balls! iPhone needs two hands to unlock the display. The Pixel needs one. (I have both)

      I manage quite easily with a single hand...

      Actually I manage quite easily with one hand on the iPad mini as well, so I don't even think it's device size related.

    2. Lysenko

      Re: Prefer authentication on the front of the phone

      Agreed. If I'm picking up my phone my fingers are on the back of the case, not the front. How is obscuring the display by slapping your fingers over it supposed to be preferable? It defies ergonomics. The only time a front sensor would make any sense if the phone was face up on a desk and I didn't want to pick it up, which doesn't happen because how am I going to do anything useful with it in that position?

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Prefer authentication on the front of the phone

      > Balls! iPhone needs two hands to unlock the display.

      How so?

      I appreciate the sensor on the Pixel is placed well, but can't your thumb reach the iPhone's front sensor?

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: Prefer authentication on the front of the phone

        The iPhone sensor is a little bit too low for me to reach with my thumb (If I hold the phone by the bottom half, I always feel it's going to fall from my hand). So when I'm reaching for the phone in my pocket, I prefer the back sensor. But yeah, the front sensor is more convenient if the phone is lying on the table.

        If the sensor can be under the screen, then they can put it in the middle of the screen, where it is easiest to reach. Or maybe they could put it on the side.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Prefer authentication on the front of the phone

      iPhone needs two hands to unlock the display. The Pixel needs one.

      The Motie phone requires all three hands. :(

  6. ForthIsNotDead
    Stop

    I'd happily use fingerprint authentication, but...

    ...the implications of Google, you know the company that bought Boston Dynamics that is literally building autonomous man-hunting dog-shaped robots having my fingerprints is just too terrifying to contemplate.

    No ta.

    Cool tech, though. I don't have a problem with the clever folks that have designed the technology, it's the likes of the evil c***s at Google that I have a problem with. They cannot be trusted.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: I'd happily use fingerprint authentication, but...

      Google sold Boston Dynamics to Softbank (owners of ARM).

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Terminator

        Re: I'd happily use fingerprint authentication, but...

        True, but they've still got that self-driving car tech.

        And you just know they're going to fit it to combine-harvesters. And then their AI is going to go all Skynet on us, and turn us into pate.

        1. FIA

          Re: I'd happily use fingerprint authentication, but...

          True, but they've still got that self-driving car tech.

          And you just know they're going to fit it to combine-harvesters. And then their AI is going to go all Skynet on us, and turn us into pate.

          Bollocks. Skynet is already here. Has been for a while now; it's just toying with us.

          You think it's coincidence that proto supervillain Elon Musk looks a bit like Arnie??

    2. the hatter

      Re: I'd happily use fingerprint authentication, but...

      If they don't already, then sensible android manufacturers will use a Secure Enclave type system, where (as ever, subject to design flaws) there is no access to your fingerprints from the OS or beyond, just a token passes when the sensor gets the correct input.

      1. JulieM Silver badge

        Re: I'd happily use fingerprint authentication, but...

        Thus shifting the domain of the hacker's problem from "how to fool the sensor that it is seeing the correct fingerprint" to "how to fool the system downstream of the fingerprint sensor that the sensor has seen the correct fingerprint" .....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FaceID is better than Touch ID, in most cases

    I have the iPhone X and Face ID is much better than Touch ID in most cases. I was sceptical at first that it would work, but it does.

    The only downside is if you have the phone lying flat, it doesnt work and you need to enter your pin code.

    When used in all other cases it just works and is much better than fingerprint recognition IMHO, particularly when using apps, just look at the phone to authenticate rather than having to touch the fingerprint sensor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FaceID is better than Touch ID, in most cases

      At least... it appears to be working. As long as every time you press the button it allows someone access... ;)

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: FaceID is better than Touch ID, in most cases

      Its a mixed bag for me. I find it unlocks as quickly and naturally as Touch ID unlocked my 6s plus, but the requirement to look at it sometimes trips me up - i.e. if I'm watching TV and reach for my phone laying to the side if I don't slide my gaze over to it for a moment it'll fail to unlock and I have to relock/unlock it (anyone know if there's another way of telling Face ID "try again" other than hitting the sleep wake button once to sleep it and then again to reawaken it?)

      When I'm riding my bike and I have my phone in a little mount on the handlebars I can't seem to get it to unlock while I'm riding. The combination of wearing helmet/sunglasses and movement/bouncing around a bit seems to be enough to put it off. Maybe if I trained it by entering the password after those failures...though typing in a password while riding would be even harder! I didn't really get an opportunity as I only had two rides in early November before fall really took over and the bike was put away.

      With the phone lying flat I don't have any problems, I just have to lean forward a bit as I tap on the screen. You don't need to be fully above it, about a 45* angle seems to be sufficient.

  8. Big_Boomer

    Honor 9

    My only problem with the Honor 9 front fingerprint sensor is that the software only recognises 1 finger. I would like to be able to add a second finger to it so I can unlock with either hand. When handheld I can use my right thumb to unlock but when in the car bracket I need to be able to add a left hand finger. As for face recognition, useless to me when in the car.

  9. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Why the sudden bezelphobia?

    Has the population just learned a new word - 'bezel' - and been told it's a bad thing? We're getting devices with less functionality, weird screens that are harder to hold and which require silly work-arounds to function properly because some people think a few millimetres of blank space around the edges is the end of the world.

    It kind of reminds me of the panic over skeumorphism a few years ago, just because Apple produced some piss-poor looking interfaces that took the real world metaphor a bit too literally, we ended up with Jonny Ive's unicorn vomit interface which somehow managed to make everything worse through inconsistent design, skinny fonts, stupid colour choices and the sort of colour use you by giving a five year old a family pack of Skittles and a pack of crayons.

    Oh and before I forget - get off my lawn!

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Childcatcher

      Re: Why the sudden bezelphobia?

      IMHO, the answer is simple: the phone makers got themselves into a corner. They sold the idea that their newest and greatest flagships would have, every year, some great never-seen-before, mind blowing, life changing innovation. And for some time there were some honestly interesting innovations.

      The problem is, they ran out of gizmos and gimmicks to throw at their phones so they are now doing things that look like innovation and can be sold as such to the masses, but aren't (look! our new phone is 0.1 Angstroms slimmer then the previous one! - look! the new screen is ever so slightly bigger!)

      If actually useful thinks like a 3.5 jack or a fingerprint sensor get in the way of baffling the customers with bullsh#t that's too bad... but the marketing droids will solve it.

      (I really need a "get off my lawn" icon! perhaps Clint Eastwood posing with his M1)

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Why the sudden bezelphobia?

        Its simple, because you want the biggest screen you can have without making the phone of an unwieldy size. Only two ways to do that, have less wasted space so the phone is all screen, or have a phone that folds.

        There have been rumors about Samsung and Apple working on folding phones, but I'm really unsure how that's going to work. Presumably you'd want to end up with something in the neighborhood of 16:9 for the unfolded phone. So is it a really long 16:4.5 or a squarish 8:9 in your pocket? Neither one really appeals to me. Maybe its a trifold, so you can start 5.3:9 and it'll be almost tablet size unfolded, but I have to imagine that would be pretty damn thick when folded! It will be interesting to see what they come up with, and whether people will really accept it or it'll be a passing fad like 3D TV.

    2. Tom_

      Re: Why the sudden bezelphobia?

      It's the same daftness as making them thinner at the expense of battery life. I'll take the whole phone being 2mm thicker and lasting an extra 24 hours, please.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Why the sudden bezelphobia?

        There are a few phones that are thicker and offer bigger batteries, but they don't sell well. Samsung offers so many different models, they'd have a "Galaxy S8 Extra" or whatever to go along with the Plus and Active if they thought it would sell.

        The fact you can add a case that has a built in battery to get the same thing kind of negates the drive to have a product that builds it in - you get a thicker phone that lasts longer either way, but relying on customers to buy a case does it without the risk of bringing to market a product with a niche audience.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    or they can do like Sony put it on the side, meaning it is exactly where my thumb sits when I hold the phone...

  11. A K Stiles

    Old fashioned?

    I'm sure I'll get called a luddite or probably worse, but my phone has no face unlock or fingerprint thing - you type in a pin number and that unlocks it quite readily, generally in less than a second too. I can also get my wife to unlock it if needed - e.g. when I'm driving and need to reply to a message or suchlike. I'm just not seeing where the great benefits of biometric locking lie.

    1. Lysenko

      Re: Old fashioned?

      I can also get my wife to unlock it if needed - e.g. when I'm driving and need to reply to a message or suchlike. I'm just not seeing where the great benefits of biometric locking lie.

      That's because you're not cheating on your wife or, if you are, you're smart enough to use a burner phone for that sort of thing. Others, however......

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Old fashioned?

      They are not exclusive. In fact after a certain number of failed attempts* my phone demands the PIN, but it's there anyway.

      *Do not forgetfully hold some emery paper with the finger you use to unlock the phone and do a lot of sanding. It took 2 weeks for that finger to be recognised again, by which time I had added an additional finger. Typing in a PIN in public is insecure.

      1. englishr
        Thumb Up

        Re: Old fashioned?

        > by which time I had added an additional finger.

        Doesn't that make it hard to buy gloves?

        1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

          Re: Old fashioned? - difficult to buy gloves?

          Not in Norfolk.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old fashioned?

      Good for you. But since your phone doesn't have a fingerprint sensor, you're not in a good position to be able to genuinely judge whether it would provide a benefit or not. Lots of other people clearly find it useful to unlock their phone by touching a fingertip against a fingerprint sensor as they pick it up, rather than having to push the power button, then type a 4 digit code and confirm it. Try it and get back to us.

      1. A K Stiles

        Re: Old fashioned? (Try it and get back to us)

        Strangely, I have had experience of fingerprint sensors on other devices previously and they just did nothing to make the process of unlocking the devices easier or simpler, for me.

    4. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Old fashioned?

      The way I see it, the main issue with fingerprint sensors is that it can be used by police and other LEOs to force you physically to open your phone, even in countries where doing so is blatantly illegal. It's happening everywhere.

      The most common rebuke against this argument of mine is that police or TLAs can apply "physical violence" (i.e. "torture") to force you to give them the pin. My answer is that if you live in a country where police can torture you -without fear of the consequences- the fingerprint scanner in your phone is the lesser of your problems, and you should either find a way for you and your family to leave the country ASAP or stockpile fertilizers, aluminium powder and similar things, just in case. :-(

      Another big issue is that fingerprinting sensors are easy to fool using common, easily available materials, like gummy bears and PCB etching materials.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Cheating on your wife

        If your wife has your PIN/password she can use that to unlock a phone locked with biometrics, too. No difference over a non-biometric phone for cheaters.

        Apple solved the "police can force a biometric unlock" problem with a simple method to instantly disable biometric unlock on your phone, making it so your password is required. The problem is, in the UK among other countries the police can force you to give up your password and jail you if you don't. So whatever you're protecting on there better have worse consequences than the jail time you'll do for refusing to provide the password, or you better REALLY feel strongly about standing on principle.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    "You can change a password, but you can't change your fingerprint."

    1. no-one in particular

      re: You can change a password...

      > but you can't change your fingerprint

      Place your hand here, no, don't worry, it won't hurt me a bit <insert maniacal giggle here>

    2. DougS Silver badge

      You've got nine other fingers if one is "compromised"...

      1. MrT

        My old HP iPaq 5550 had a fingerprint scanner (2003 vintage Windows CE). After setting it up with the appropriate finger of choice, it suggested that alternative fingers also be registered, in case the original finger was "not available" ...

        Not sure if Uncle Vito worked for HP, or if it was Microsoft, but it took considerable effort to move on to thinking "oh yeah, it could just have a plaster covering it".

  13. tempemeaty

    The number of a human

    All this is the same. It's reading biometric pattern data from the unique features of your head or hand and converting it into a repeatable number set.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: The number of a human

      "All this is the same. It's reading biometric pattern data from the unique features of your head or hand and converting it into a repeatable number set."

      No, that's not how it works.

      There's a stored reference image of the fingerprint in question, and if the newly scanned image matches it in enough places, it's unlocked. That means the reference image has to be stored in unencrypted storage somewhere, along with the key to the encrypted storage.

  14. JohnFen Silver badge

    What's so bad about bezels?

    This is good news for people who are into fingerprint scanners!

    It raises a point, though. What's so bad about bezels? AN enormous amount of effort has gone into making the scanner work under glass in order to lose them, and phones are ditching valuable features (I'm looking at you, headphone jack) in order to lose them.

    I don't understand my they seem to be so objectionable to people that they are willing to give stuff up in order to lose them.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: What's so bad about bezels?

      I like a good bezel.

      Gives me somewhere to hold the phone and my phone case a fighting chance of saving the screen when I drop it.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: What's so bad about bezels?

        That's a good reason to not have the screen go out the very edge on the sides, but is that really a reason to have a big 1/2" bezel on top and bottom? Dunno about you, but I never held my phone by the top or the bottom.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: What's so bad about bezels?

          If that space is used to hold sensors and physical buttons (lord, how I miss those!), then that's a very good reason. Regardless, it's not like they're a problem that needed to be solved.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: What's so bad about bezels?

            Physical buttons are not worth the huge amount of wasted space that could be used by a screen. The whole reason for going touchscreen was to eliminate the need for physical buttons.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: What's so bad about bezels?

              "Physical buttons are not worth the huge amount of wasted space that could be used by a screen."

              To you, perhaps. To me, they are very desirable. I haven't seen a soft-button replacement for them that works as well.

          2. Probie

            Re: What's so bad about bezels?

            Nothing, they are a god send.

            When doing ANYTHING in landscape mode, bezels mean I can hold the phone and not have my subjective app doing all sort of weird, because I am holding the phone.

            Regards

            James

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