Study: Biometric Smartphones Predicted for 2014

Ericsson predicts fingerprint scanners will become common in 2014.

Customers inspect the new iPhones inside Apple's store in Causeway Bay district on Sept. 20, 2013, in Hong Kong.
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Fingerprint scanning technology will likely become mainstream in 2014 because of consumer demand for the biometric password feature used on Apple's iPhone 5S, according to a survey published Wednesday by Sweden-based technology company Ericcson.

Apple's iPhone 5S, unveiled in September, allows users to unlock the phone using a fingerprint, which consumer have embraced because it can be more convenient than the process of creating and memorizing a password.

Ericcson, the world's biggest manufacturer of mobile devices, surveyed more than 100,000 people in 40 countries on the top 10 consumer trends expected for 2014. The report shows 52 percent of smartphone users want to use their fingerprints instead of passwords, and half of consumers even want to use their fingerprints to make online credit card payments.

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"A further 61 percent of people want to use fingerprints to unlock their phones and 48 percent are interested in using eye-recognition," the report said. "It doesn't stop there - 74 percent believe that biometric smartphones will become mainstream during 2014."

Fingerprint scanners have been used before on devices including ThinkPads by Lenovo, but they have usually been used by corporate customers who wanted increased security. The fingerprint password feature could also create new privacy problems by making it easier to compel someone to unlock a phone. While Ericcson's survey shows 56 percent of daily internet users in the U.S., Mexico, Sweden, Egypt, Pakistan and Thailand are concerned about privacy, only 4 percent said they would use the Internet less.

Instead, 93 percent would engage in risk mitigation strategies such as being more cautious about the type of personal information they provide," the report said. "They would also think twice about visiting certain sites, in the same way that people may avoid using ATM machines in certain areas of a city."

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Ericcson's report also predicts health monitoring devices will become popular in 2014.

"Not only do 40 percent of smartphone users want their phone to log all of their physical activities, 59 percent would also like to use a wristband to complement those measurements," the report said. "In addition, 56 percent would like to monitor their blood pressure and pulse using a ring."

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