I'm not all that excited about potential eye scanners

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| December 30, 2013
When it comes to 2014, I don't have any doubts that we're going to be pretty excited to see what companies create. Next year is a big year! We've got the new, new iPhone! Microsoft should have something to show off after purchasing Nokia's devices & services division. LG will have a successor to their surprising G2, and Motorola's going to have a lot of work cut out for them to improve the Moto X (just make the camera better). And that's honestly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mobile industry. There is so much to be excited about, and so much to look forward to, that I can't wait to get it started with all of you.
I'm like you, though, and I have some companies that I'm watching a bit closer than others. It has nothing to do with liking them more or anything like that, it's just that I imagine they've got a lot planned for the next year or so, and there are some companies that I believe are going to have a few more surprises than just upgrades. I could be looking to shoot myself in the foot here, but I think Samsung is a company that has a lot headed into 2014, and they're looking to surprise the masses with what's coming down the pipe.
Samsung, as we've heard reported earlier this month, had some lofty goals for their mobile devices in 2013, and there's nothing wrong with that. The company had a lot to be excited about with the release of the Galaxy S 4, and the Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3. They were riding a pretty high tidal wave of attention with the previous year's launches, so to expect that that would carry over with their new devices wasn't totally out of the ordinary.
Now, with tempered results and hopefully checked expectations going into 2014, Samsung will probably put a lot more focus on their devices and aim to truly impress, rather than simply update what's already been made. In truth, this is Samsung's big year, potentially, as they're sort of in the same boat as Apple. We expect a big change in design cues from Samsung's mobile devices, just like the world is expecting the same from Apple's new iPhone. Will that happen? That's where it seems to be leaning, but obviously nothing's official quite yet, and the majority of rumors we've been hearing about Samsung's next flagship device is under the hood.
But, that could be where the majority of the story comes from, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Building off a solid base, if the internals of the Galaxy S 5 are impressive in their own right, then it's a safe bet that Samsung is also aiming to improve the hardware of their devices, too. At least, that would be the wish from consumers around the world. With a chance that the Galaxy S 5 could launch with 4GB of RAM, a 64-bit processor, and more, then I can say we're building from a pretty solid base here.
Samsung is known for its features. They want to sell you on them, in fact, so you don't mind you're buying a plastic phone (compared to all those other plastic phones, and a few noteworthy metal ones). With the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note 3, and with plenty of devices in between, there was a huge focus on all the features and how they're might be too many, rather than having a conservative amount that actually boosts the phone's functionality. We have no idea if that track record is going to change next year, but there's one feature that I keep seeing floating around that I just can't seem to get excited about.
I've said in the past that I don't think a lot of Samsung's features, like eye tracking and gesture control, are gimmicks in certain situations. As a whole? Maybe. But, Samsung has marketing to show you what you'd use those features for -- and the marketing works really well. This new feature, though, the one that's supposedly headed to the Galaxy S 5 and other new devices from the company in 2014, is one that screams, "GIMMICK!" to me.
It's an eye scanner. I know you've probably seen the rumors, too, but I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. An eye scanner.
Security is an important part of our phones, especially the more that we keep them on us and the more we put sensitive information on them. If our phone is taken, we want a way to back up our stuff, but we also want a way to make sure that some random person doesn't access what's on there, either. We saw Apple introduce the fingerprint sensor, or TouchID, on their new iPhone 5s, and we've seen other companies use facial recognition on a phone to try and make our phones safer.
Don't get me wrong, having an eye scanner on anything for the general consumer is straight out of a sci-fi novel and that's awesome, and I'll tell anyone that security is important. Because it is. But if accessing my phone takes any longer than inputting a four-digit code into my phone, then I'm just not going to be all that excited for it. And, while an eye scanner might be cool, I just can't help but assume that it'll take some time to log into your phone once you start using it. Plus, as often as I look at my phone, that means I'd be shining something into my eye a lot, and that could just get annoying faster than it ever becomes useful.
Then again, right after getting the Galaxy S 5 and its new eye scanner, I could have the phone stolen off a table and then I'd be super thankful I've got an eye scanner.
I'm basing this off rumors, so there's a chance that, 1) There's no such thing as an eye scanner in a phone right now, especially not in the Galaxy S 5 from Samsung, or 2) It could be super quick and responsive, and works flawlessly every time. There's a lot of wriggle room in there, too, for a ridiculous amount of scenarios. As it stands right now, though, I'm just not seeing the appeal.
What do you think of the chances of getting an eye scanner in our phones? Do you think it makes sense, and it's a natural next step for security on our mobile devices? Or, like me, do you think it would become more of a hassle in a short amount of time? Let me know!