Motorola released the Nexus 6 to much fanfare back in early November. The Nexus 6 was the high-profile launch vehicle for the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. As we reported in our review, the Nexus 6 packs in plenty of high-end hardware including a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, up to 64GB of internal storage, a 13MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, and a huge 5.9-inch QHD AMOLED Display (2560x1440). But according to a new report from The Telegraph, the Nexus 6 was supposed to include support for another promising hardware feature.
Dennis Woodside is currently the CFO for Dropbox, but he was CEO of Motorola during the time the Nexus 6 was developed. He reveals that the Nexus 6 was originally designed to incorporate a fingerprint sensor on its back cover. The company had initially planned to use sensor technology from AuthenTec, however, those plans were foiled when Apple purchased the company in 2012 and went onto introduce Touch ID on the iPhone 5s (and later on the iPhone 6/6 Plus and iPad Air 2).
According to Woodside, the alternative wasn’t exactly promising. “So the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren’t there yet.” Motorola likely made the right choice by not going with a supplier that didn’t have a solution on par with what Apple is able to provide with Touch ID. The lack of a fingerprint sensor might annoy a few people, but including a fingerprint sensor that is problematic and unreliable would be even more detrimental to Motorola’s reputation.
With that said, Woodside still believes that a fingerprint sensor on the Nexus 6 “wouldn’t have made that big a difference.”
Ars Technica revealed back in December that the Nexus 6 was supposed to be the launching point for a brand new fingerprint API in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Details gleaned from the Android Open Source Project revealed that the Nexus 6 was supposed to use fingerprint recognition hardware from Validity Sensors, Inc.
The remnants of the Nexus 6’s aborted fingerprint sensor efforts aren’t just visible in code; the little dimple on the back of the device (which holds the Motorola logo) is where the hardware would have been incorporated.