Motorola Nexus 6 Fingerprint Sensor Plans Scuppered by Apple–AuthenTec Deal

Apple’s move to acquire AuthenTec has ruined a competitor’s plans to use a fingerprint sensor in a handset they have been working on. According to ex-Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside, the Nexus 6 was supposed to feature a fingerprint sensor. It didn’t make it.

Iphone 6 touch id

Woodside, now CEO of Dropbox, sat down for a chat with the Telegraph to discuss Motorola, Google, and the future of Dropbox. During the interview, he said that Motorola had plans to include a fingerprint sensor in the Nexus 6, which launched last year, but since Apple has inked a deal with the best supplier in the industry, they decided not to move forward with the secret feature of the phone.

“The secret behind that is that it was supposed to be fingerprint recognition, and Apple bought the best supplier. So the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren’t there yet,” says Woodside. Nonetheless, he adds, the addition of fingerprint recognition, “wouldn’t have made that big a difference.”

Apple acquired AuthenTec in 2012 but waited until 2013 to launch the first device with Touch ID, the iPhone 5s. Although the security level of biometrics – in this case of the built-in fingerprint scanner – is questionable (Touch ID was hacked within 24 hours of its public release), Apple said that its use would reverse the worldwide trend of unsecured iPhones.

Last year, however, Apple moved forward and launched Apple Pay, which uses the built-in fingerprint scanner to authorise payment for goods or services at a contactless terminal. Also, with iOS 8 Apple opened the fingerprint sensor to developers, allowing them to incorporate it as a safe and quick way to open their apps.