Will 2012 see more security options for phones?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| January 28, 2012

Mobile security has come a long way over the years. Moving from a simple password, to more complicated ones, to drawing lines on the screen it’s become something of a focal point for people to make sure that the information on their device is secure from some stranger getting their hands on their phone. It makes sense, of course. Your smartphone has become something of an important tool in your life, and there’s a real possibility that you probably have all your important information, or some part of it, on your smartphone.

We’ve seen companies like Google implement new security features in their phones. Facial unlock is probably more of a feature than a security tool, but only when it comes to those hardcore about security. For the average user, though, a facial unlock is probably good enough on a day-to-day basis. Then again, holding the phone up to your face every time you want to unlock it might be somewhat of a hassle more often than not.

When will we start to see new security measures implemented into our phones? There’s no doubt in my mind that as we move forward into 2012, and the years to come, the phone is going to continue to be a huge, if not integral part of our lives. It isn’t just about business users having key information on their devices, but it also relates to the regular civilian, too. Information is an important thing, whether it’s the list of emails, or your digital address book, it could all possibly be something you don’t want someone you don’t know getting their hands on.

There are other security options out there, but maybe the fingerprint sensor would be one of the best and easiest ways to secure your device. Depending on the technology used in the sensor, and the corresponding phone’s software, it could be really quick to unlock your phone, and yet provide an excessive amount of security. Of course, we’ve seen a fingerprint security sensor in the Motorola ATRIX 4G, but after the phone’s launch that particular feature kind of dropped off the radar altogether.

That’s not to say that the ATRIX’s feature isn’t worth mentioning, because it is. But why hasn’t the fingerprint sensor been widely adopted? We can imagine that the facial unlock will start to take a root presence on future devices, especially handsets that launch with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Phones that get updated to the latest version of Android will probably have the feature, too, so that base is covered. But, again, considering the way that the facial unlock is implemented, I believe that a fingerprint sensor would be easier, quicker, and even more secure.

I think it could possibly be that, while it may be easy to think of it as one, a fingerprint sensor really isn’t a gimmick. At least, not in the same way facial unlock technology is. There isn’t any fanfare when you unlock your phone with a fingerprint. Put the digit on the sensor, wait a tick, and then you’re accessing your information. With the facial unlock it’s all about showing it off to your friends, even more so than actually securing your phone. Personally I showed off the facial unlock tool to those around me, but as soon as the gimmick wore off I deactivated the feature and went right back to the regular ol’ PIN code.

As we move into the future, and the more our phones become tied to our lives, security is going to become more and more important. It will be interesting to see where facial unlock technology goes, especially if rumors pan out and Apple reveals their own take on the tech. But, I think I’m looking forward more to the future, when our security options widen and we see some pretty unique, and secure, methods implemented right into our handsets.