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Analyst: Biometrics Will Become a "Must Have" on All Mobile Devices

A British market research firm, Goode Intelligence, says that biometrics for mobile devices will be an essential feature before the decade is out. Their claims come from previous forecasts that point to a market growth of nearly 39 million users by 2015.

Smart Mobile Devices (SMDs) are now the personal device of choice, Goode notes, with sales outpacing PCs. The BYOD trend is accelerating the need for enhanced security as SMDs are being used more often for consumer and business-sensitive activities.

“Last year, we forecasted that the mobile biometric security market would grow to 39 million users by 2015” said Alan Goode, founder and Managing Director of Goode Intelligence.

“This was based on the expectation that initial growth would come from two biometric modalities; embedded fingerprint sensors and voice biometrics. The news that Apple is buying fingerprint sensor specialist AuthenTec further supports the evidence for this exciting trend.”

Apple did make a move to acquire the biometric security company last week, and will pay roughly $356 million for the firm which creates embedded fingerprint scanners and other IDM software. Moreover, AuthenTec also creates DRM software. The fact that IDM and DRM are both coming form the company makes them a decent buy for Apple. While the speculation is that iDevices (iPhones, iPads, etc.) will get biometrics, Apple hasn’t confirmed anything.

Goode says that mobile biometric security “will become a standard feature in SMDs as these devices become the prime computer in both our personal and business life. Whether it is for protecting the physical device or for providing strong authentication and identity verification for a remote service, such as NFC-based mobile payments, mobile phone-based biometrics can offer a wide variety of solutions – the third factor in the palm of your hand.”

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.