As Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba prepares for what may well be the world’s largest IPO, the company quietly announced technology that may well put competitors like Amazon, Google GOOGL +1.15% and PayPal on the back foot.
On Alibaba’s blog, the e-tailer posted news of its soon-to-launch fingerprint reader, allowing shoppers to make payments on their smartphones without the hassle of passwords:
“The biometric technology…will allow mobile users to confirm payments for a wide variety of goods and services with their smartphones simply by swiping a digit instead of entering a lengthy code.”
It’ll be available for use with Huawei’s Mate 7 smartphone, due to be launched this week.
Alibaba touted the security of its fingerprint function versus the past efforts of traditional mobile companies in its post, saying:
Biometric technology such as fingerprint or retina recognition is touted as a more secure and convenient of method of identity authentication. Banks, governments, credit-card companies and mobile phone manufacturers have been exploring possibilities in the industry, but the development path has some potholes. Fingerprint readers on Samsung’s Galaxy 5 and Apple AAPL +0.78%’s iPhone 5 have been successfully hacked, defeating the security function that prevents unauthorized use.
Alibaba may not be leading the pack with its fingerprint technology for long. In an interview with tech site CNET days ago, Rick Berman of Synaptics SYNA +4.44%, a company developing fingerprint readers for gadgets, revealed what he thinks is the next big leap for mobile: eyeball-tracking.