Turns Out Samsung Is Going to Copy Apple After All

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, will have a fingerprint scanner on its home button, according to SamMobile. Although a Samsung executive had teased a retina scanner as an alternative biometric that could leapfrog Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) technology, it looks as if Samsung will, once again, be following Cupertino's lead.

While there are several takeaways here -- Apple remains a leader in hardware innovation; Samsung displays an ability to rapidly replicate any advancement Apple makes -- the biggest winner could be Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) , as it continues to push its mobile payment initiative Google Wallet.

Fingerprint scanners remain controversial
On its last earnings call, Apple's management admitted that it had misjudged the demand for the iPhone 5s in North America last quarter -- Apple had believed that the iPhone 5c would've taken a bigger chunk of the market.

Offering an explanation for why consumers seemed to so strongly prefer the iPhone 5s, Apple CEO Tim Cook cited the phone's fingerprint scanner -- a feature that the iPhone 5c lacked:

I think the 5s, people are really intrigued with Touch ID. It's a major feature that has excited people. And I think that, associated with the other things that are unique to the 5s, got the 5s to have a significant amount more attention and a higher mix of sales.

Cook's explanation is certainly possible, but fingerprint scanners remain far from beloved. Even Apple's implementation of the technology, despite being widely praised by tech critics initially, has its fair share of problems. A number of owners seem to have run into issues, with numerous media outlets including Forbes, Business Insider, and CNN reporting widespread issues with Touch ID.

It's possible that Samsung may be able to offer something better, but I wouldn't count on it. The motion controls and eye-tracking technology Samsung built into its previous Galaxy handsets are at best unreliable.

A play for mobile payments
Still, Samsung's move into biometrics is great for Google, as Samsung remains its most dominant hardware partner. Apple's Touch ID is, by itself, an interesting feature, but most analysts believe it's only laying the groundwork for a push into mobile payments.

With millions of credit cards attached to iTunes accounts, and millions of iPhones in the pockets of consumers, Apple has the building blocks in place for a mobile payment solution. At some distant future date, iPhones could come to replace their owners' wallets.

Getting consumers onboard could be tricky, however, with security concerns preventing many from making the switch. But pairing mobile payments with a secure biometric solution could eventually emerge as the superior alternative to traditional credit cards.

Google Wallet gets two new allies
If biometrics do prove to be a necessary component of the equation, Google is at a big disadvantage relative to Apple. Without controlling the hardware production, Google couldn't implement the sort of solution needed to pull off a biometric-dependent mobile payment solution.

So far, Google has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into its Google Wallet mobile payment product, with little to show for it. Still, the search giant doesn't seem to be giving up. In fact, it scored a big win last week when Visa and MasterCard announced their support for Google's most recent initiative -- a cloud-based version of its mobile payment solution.

The handset that could put Google Wallet on the map
Samsung's decision to embrace Apple's Touch ID could be another victory for Google Wallet, as it would put a biometric security feature in the hands of many Android handset owners. According to OpenSignal, about half of all Android devices in existence were made by Samsung, and if recent trends continue, the Galaxy S5 should be the single most popular Android handset of 2014.

While analysts continue to salivate over Apple's mobile payment potential, Google's alternative, supported by Samsung's hardware, could prove just as potent.

Apple's next great product
If you thought the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were amazing, just wait until you see this. One hundred of Apple's top engineers are busy building one in a secret lab. And an ABI Research report predicts 485 million of them could be sold over the next decade. But you can invest in it right now, for just a fraction of the price of Apple stock. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening new report.

Read/Post Comments (22) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:52 PM, steve5582 wrote:

    You say Apple is a leader in innovation but you fail to mention that both Apple and Samsung are copying Motorola. Motorola Atrix 4G came out with a fingerprint scanner in 2011.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 2:07 PM, Scorpionking426 wrote:

    Nothing Samsung is nothing more than thieves and all they do know is to copy successful products and other companies hard work~!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 2:10 PM, Scorpionking426 wrote:

    Nothing new.Samsung is nothing more than thieves and all they do know is to copy successful products and other companies hard work~!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:00 PM, Maintainin wrote:

    So what? So no manufacturer can ever introduce a technology that was first put in a device from another company without being labeled negatively as a copy cat? So when Apple FINALLY comes out with a 5" screen this year is the Fool going to rightly claim that Apple copied whoever came out with the 5" screen first? What a stupid article. But you are a bunch of Apple fanboys....

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:01 PM, Maintainin wrote:

    Apple will finally come out with a 5" screen and this site will label it revolutionary. When it's been for years already.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 3:40 PM, GaryDMN wrote:

    Duh, did anyone really believe they wouldn't copy anything Apple does. Samsung has much bigger problems, than trying to competing with Apple, to worry about. Apple doesn't compete in the Android market and the competition is really heating up for all the Android vendors. There is little or no barrier of entry, to the Android market and the lowest cost manufactures are hungry, very hungry.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:31 PM, nixex wrote:

    Turns out that Apple copied Samsung in making a phone with plastic casing (Iphone 5c)....

    Turns out that Apple will again copy Samsung in making phones with larger display....

    Turns out Apple will again rely on Samsung for nearly all its phone hardware...

    Turns out Apple will again rely on Samsung for its Retina display.....

    bla bla bla...

    Is Apple paying you for these pathetic ibiased articles or are are you just a pathetic isheep?

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 4:51 PM, miketh wrote:

    I am anti-Apple because of their refusal to use common fittings in hardware. Eg. All cell phone makers agreed, years ago, to use the same chargers w. micro usb connections. Appe used its own - then made their own chargers etc. obsolete by changing the fittings once again last year - making their users fill the land fills with "old" subsidiary equipment.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 6:22 PM, vernr75 wrote:

    Here we go again. Samsung isn't copying Apple at all. Apple's not even the first company to put a fingerprint sensor in a phone. You guys at Fool are just blogging blindly and making up false accusations without any attempt to confirm usual.

    Case in point - In January 2013 at CES, LONG BEFORE THE IPHONE 5S WAS EVER RELEASED, Samsung demoed an Android smartphone that had a fingerprint sensor UNDER THE DISPLAY, which allowed the user to swipe the display to log in! Google the article titled "Next round of smartphones to incorporate biometrics" ...then wipe the egg off your faces.

    So tell us, can a company that demoed a fingerprint scanning method more technologically advanced than its competitor's and before the introduction of the competitor's product be accused of 'copying' them???

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 6:39 PM, pwkrp wrote:

    Who ever said Apple invented the fringed print scanner. Only you Apple haters, no one ever said they invented it, they were the first to use it on a smartphone. That all.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 6:40 PM, spikex2 wrote:

    Yo writer, stop sucking off Apple. Most of Iphone weren't innovating and revolution, even those freaking Ipad were copying off the window tablet that microsoft made in 2002.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 6:41 PM, spikex2 wrote:

    Yo pwkrp, Apple werent the first to use on a smartphone. Motorola did it in 2011. You fail at research kid.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 7:09 PM, ChrisS3 wrote:

    Motorola Atrix had a fingerprint scanner in 2011. An ANDROID phone.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 7:51 PM, Allend406 wrote:

    Sam Mattera sounds like you just like to divide people and fan the flames of fanboy arguments PS4/Xbox, Apple/Samsung get a life nerd.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 8:49 PM, DavidLeland wrote:

    @Sam Mattera - Making a big deal out of a single feature, that's OK, if it matters to you. It seems that your facts are NOT, so you deal with that.

    A bigger issue is the *fact* that Apple's big deals with Chinese (remember where 1/8 of the market in the world is?) mobile operators has already resulted in discounts of 25% on both 5S and 5C. So the volume may (doubtfully) be there, but the profit margin is history.

    The amazing lack of transparency in Apple's sales figures really seems to defy honest accounting and securities reporting practice, but the news get around in the global village!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 11:27 PM, capsman727 wrote:

    "Turns out' Sam Mattera doesn't know what he's talking about...

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 11:39 PM, capsman727 wrote:

    As steve5582 correctly pointed out, the Motorola Atrix 4G had a fingerprint scanner back in 2011, so Samsung will 'copy' Motorola, just as Apple did?

    With Mattera's lack of expertise and no interest in researching a story, why bother?

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:29 AM, JoeLemon wrote:

    Coping Apple seriously? These have been in laptops for at least 10 years, and apple wasn't even first in a smartphone. Apple also bought out a company that did this they didn't even make it themselves.

    Do you do any research at all before you write an article?

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:17 AM, VegasSmitty wrote:

    I bet the same people who write for the National Enquirer write for the MF.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:56 AM, AceOfSaves wrote:

    Wow, the Apple haters are out in full force. Full disclosure, I'm long AAPL.

    It's obvious that most (if not all) of the people who commented above haven't been around the Motley Fool boards/site as much. Or else, you would know that the author of this article, Sam Mattera, writes more critical Apple articles than anyone I know at the Motley Fool. He is smart because he succeeds at his goal, which is to get a lot of hits on his articles. With sensational article titles like "Samsung copies Apple", Samsung and Apple fans alike are definitely going to click.

    As far as the innovation goes, no one is saying Apple is the inventor of fingerprint scanning, but rather they are the first to make it successful and reliable enough to be adopted en masse by the consumers. People above say that the technology was introduced before (i.e. Motorola Atrix), but why didn't it take off. Why didn't Samsung or any other company come out with phones that have fingerprint scanners the same year or the year after? Because they were unreliable or clunky at best. Apple has to come in and show how it's done right before other companies can copy the winning formula.

    Besides, just because Apple isn't talking about it, it doesn't mean it's not thinking about it. They are very secretive for several reasons, one of which is to prevent companies from stealing/copying their technology. That's the problem with some of this tech companies (Google for example), they have all these prototypes but nothing to show for. When Apple announces a product, the average consumer can usually get his hands on it in mere months.

    I'm very excited at what Apple will be coming out with this year. Folks, just sit back and enjoy the show!

    - AoS

    "Save more. Save often. Save now."

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:38 PM, Mrhenryik wrote:

    I've been with prepaid services for awhile, but just switched to a company that pays for referrals, uses T-Mobile 4G network AND offer cheaper plans than T-Mobile. WIN win. Check it out: You can bring any unlocked phone that uses SIM cards....

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:33 PM, rrecine wrote:

    You mean the same technology that Apple copied from Motorola. LOL!

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2850271, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/31/2015 10:12:49 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Sam Mattera

Sam has a love of all things finance. He writes about tech stocks and consumer goods.

Today's Market

updated 56 minutes ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,528.03 -114.98 -0.69%
S&P 500 1,972.18 -16.69 -0.84%
NASD 4,776.51 -51.82 -1.07%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/31/2015 4:00 PM
AAPL $112.76 Down -0.53 -0.47%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
GOOGL $647.82 Down -11.87 -1.80%
Google (A shares) CAPS Rating: ****
SSNLF $875.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Samsung CAPS Rating: ***