Samsung mulls iris scanners on smartphones to log into Windows PCs

Samsung is working with Microsoft to integrate more biometric authentication features for Windows PCs via Android smartphones

Soon, your Samsung phone may be able to recognize your iris and log you into your Windows PC.

Iris-scanning via phone is not yet a feature available for Samsung's latest Galaxy Book 2-in-1s, which were announced at Mobile World Congress. But the company wants to quickly bridge the gap between its Galaxy smartphones, which run on Android, and its Windows PCs and 2-in-1s.

Software called Samsung Flow links the company's Android smartphones to Windows PCs. Samsung and Microsoft are looking to collaborate on logins via Windows Hello -- designed to use biometric authentication to log into PCs -- and one big Flow feature is the ability to use Galaxy smartphones to wirelessly log into the new Galaxy Book.

Samsung is providing the ability to log into its Windows 10 PCs with Galaxy smartphones for convenience and security. For example, users will be able to bypass Windows Hello and keep retina scan information on a smartphone once that feature is available.

Otherwise, a user now can swipe a finger on a Galaxy smartphone or use pattern authentication to log into Galaxy Book. That's a unique feature and independent of Windows Hello. The Galaxy Book doesn't have a fingerprint scanner, so the smartphone is needed for that. An NFC connection is established for smartphone-based logins into Windows PCs.

Samsung is working with Microsoft to integrate more advanced authentication features, said Eric McCarty, vice president of mobile product marketing for Samsung Electronics America.

Samsung has some unique biometric authentication technology on its handsets that could be used to log into Windows PCs. The now defunct Galaxy Note 7 had an iris scanner, which could make it to future Galaxy handsets.

In addition to its efforts on authentication, Samsung is trying to figure out ways to better link up its Android handsets, Windows PCs and Tizen OSes. There is a considerable gap between Samsung's Windows PCs and devices with Tizen, like smartwatches and TVs. Samsung Flow links the Galaxy Books only to Android handsets, not Tizen devices.

That's a big hole in an otherwise strong product lineup, and keeps it a step behind main rival Apple, whose devices link up seamlessly.

Samsung is also looking at ways for wearables to better communicate with its PCs, McCarty said.

These are forward-looking plans, and Samsung has to determine the best user experience and utility for customers, McCarty said.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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