Samsung officially introduced its first Android device with iris recognition technology, unveiling the aptly named Galaxy Tab Iris.
Before you get too excited, however, it's worth pointing out that the Galaxy Tab Iris is designed for government and enterprise use in India. Nevertheless, it proves that Samsung is ready to put its iris recognition technology to good use, and it shouldn't be long before it makes its way to other products as well.
Just recently, a trademark hinted at an iris scanner for the Samsung Galaxy Note 6, and the Galaxy Tab Iris debut now makes that theory even more plausible. The technology was also rumored for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but that obviously did not materialize.
The new Galaxy Tab Iris from Samsung India now features iris recognition technology designed to offer "Aadhaar authentication through an integrated and highly secure device," says Samsung.
This means that it will work with the Unique Identification Authority of the Aadhaar system in India, which consists of 12-digit unique identification numbers, as well as the government's Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC).
The tablet will allow for paperless and cashless services in a number of applications, including e-Governance services such as taxation, passport, health care and others. Banking and education are also on the list of possible applications, but the possibilities could vary to a greater extent.
According to Samsung, its advanced iris recognition tech means users will no longer need separate devices for biometric authentication, facilitating the process without compromising security.
For starters, Samsung is offering an "Identity SDK" so that app developers can try out its iris scanner for new payment, authentication and other solutions. The company believes iris scanning holds "great potential," so it should only be a matter of time before such technology makes its way to high-end Samsung smartphones and tablets.
For now, the Galaxy Tab Iris doesn't really come with top-notch specs on board, other than the iris scanner. Seeing as it's designed with government use in mind, the iris scanner is the main highlight while the rest of the hardware specs take a back seat, targeting utility and not intensive performance.
The tablet features a 7-inch display with a 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, and just 1.5 GB of RAM. Other specs include 8 GB of internal storage, microSD support, a 5-megapixel rear camera with autofocus (targeted at document scanning), and 2G/3G connectivity.
When it comes to pricing, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Iris costs INR 13,499, which translates to roughly $199 based on current exchange rates.
"We're excited to offer biometric-based services to the billion plus people enrolled in Aadhaar," says Samsung India R&D Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Aloknath De. "Our India R&D team has made significant investments in biometric technology research and we built this product leveraging our knowledge in hardware design, biometrics and security for a high speed scan, greater accuracy and high reliability."