Android Phones Have Apple's Fingerprints All Over Them

Everyone knows that Samsung and Google "took" some features from iOS and the iPhone and Apple did the opposite as well. It happens all the time, in every industry. While Apple resorted to help from the courts at times, it appears that the company learned the real lesson. If you don't want your technology to end up in a competitor's product, buy the technology outright. That's what they did with their fingerprint sensor, which has been head and shoulders above the competition, so far.


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Gizmodo reports that Motorola's products lack a fingerprint sensor because it had planned to use the firm Apple ended up buying, which became the Touch ID sensor. This forced Motorola to either adopt an inferior option (which Samsung and others settled on) or forego a fingerprint reader altogether. It chose to ship without such a feature. One could argue that it helped make Motorola's devices smaller, as the space between the bottom of the screen and the end of the phone is quite narrow. Some might say that is an advantage. Apple's screens will never take up the full height of the iPhone (or iPad) as long as the round Touch ID sensor is so dominant. Of course, with Touch ID firmly entrenched in Apple's product line, it has allowed Apple Pay to become another dominant technology.

Touch ID

This is not the first example of Apple acquiring technology to keep it from getting into other vendors' products. It bought Beats by Dr. Dre last summer, and I happen to have a Windows Phone "powered by Beats." There were laptops whose speakers were also powered by Beats. Now, those devices will have to look to JBL, Dolby, and other speaker technology providers for branding opportunities. Apple also took a big gample to lock up sapphire production for potential screens, but that didn't pan out. 

In the game space, I remember seeing a company called PrimeSense, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas several years ago. They were demonstrating a device with multiple cameras, including an infrared camera. It allowed users to play games, like boxing, without any controllers. It was fascinating. PrimeSense offered the technology to several firms, but found Apple was too difficult to deal with. They ended up licensing the technology to Microsoft and it became the software giant's incredibly popular Kinect. Now, with the Xbox One, Microsoft has created its own Kinect device, and recently PrimeSense was bought by...wait for it...Apple. If Apple had been able to buy PrimeSense years ago, It could have pre-empted the Kinect and created a killer Apple TV console. Apple still might, but there is a lesson to be learned, and with the fingerprint reader example, it looks like Apple has learned that lesson.

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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.