Mobile

Galaxy S8 rumored to ditch the home button for an optical fingerprint sensor

Samsung's next Galaxy S phone could have a reader beneath the display.

Josh Miller/CNET

Get your thumbs ready. A recent rumor about the alleged Samsung Galaxy S8 claims that it will come with an optical fingerprint sensor built underneath the display, which would be a first for a Samsung phone.

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It might be goodbye to the home button. You have served us well.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

What's more, it could ditch the physical home button that's typical of Samsung phones, in exchange for the subscreen sensor. Current Samsung phones tie the fingerprint scanning action to their home buttons.

This rumor originates from a post on social network Weibo post from a Chinese tipster. Although it is no more than a rumor, phone manufacturers have mulled over different fingerprint sensor configurations for quite some time. A while back, Microsoft patented an idea for a fingerprint scanner that was built right into the display.

An optical fingerprint sensor that becomes part of the display creates more opportunities for a true edge-to-edge screen. That would allow phone makers to increase screen size without having to also enlarge the rest of the phone. (Check out the new Xiaomi Mi Mix for a phone that's mostly screen.)

Another option would be to include the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone, like many manufacturers do, or on the side as part of the power/lock button.

The Galaxy S8 has yet to be officially announced, but Samsung did mention its existence when discussing its current phone, the Galaxy Note 7. We expect the S8 to launch at Mobile World Congress next February, following the usual Galaxy announcement schedule.

Samsung did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.