Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus won't appear on store shelves until March 8, 2019. However, that hasn't stopped Samsung from already pushing-out a software update to improve one of the headline features of its new handset – the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner embedded beneath the screen.
The Galaxy S10 range is the first widely-available smartphone to ship with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. According to Samsung, its new sensor is much more reliable than competitors' solutions as it can record every single ridge in your print.
In order to achieve a greater level of detail from your fingertip, the ultrasonic scanner creates a three-dimensional mould of the print by bouncing soundwaves off the skin through the edge-to-edge glass display. Unlike optical fingerprint scanners, like the one used in the OnePlus 6T, the ultrasonic does not use light – so there is no need to crank up the brightness of the display in the small area where your fingertip will be pressed against the glass. That means the ultrasonic scanner is less anti-social to use in the dark, like when you're quickly checking your phone during the night.
It also means the scanner will continue to work in tough weather conditions, including when the phone screen – or your hands – are damp or wet.
Samsung hasn't detailed exactly what has been improved with the ultrasonic scanner in the latest operating system update. In the notes accompanying the new software, it says: the performance of Fingerprint Recognition has been improved.
Elsewhere, the update to the OneUI operating system, which is based on Android 9.0 Pie, will allow Galaxy S10 owners to remap the Bixby button for the first time. The physical button – found on the left side of the phone – was introduced with the Galaxy S9 last year in a bid to make Samsung's AI-powered digital assistant more easily accessible. However, those who preferred to use Google Assistant or do not like to use voice commands at all were a little miffed at the inability to change the function of the button. Well, Samsung was clearly listening.
Following the update, the Bixby button can now be used to launch Facebook, Google Maps, Instagram and Netflix.
Samsung has also improved the stability of the default camera app. The latest software update also includes the new Instagram Mode, which was demoed on-stage during Galaxy Unpacked as a key addition to the Galaxy S line-up. It enables users to quickly upload photographs and videos into their Instagram Story direct from the Camera app – no need to even launch the social network. According Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh speaking during the Galaxy S10 launch event, this new software feature is the best Instagram experience on the market.
The update is rolling-out to smartphones at the moment.
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