Awkward fingerprint placement and slow iris scanner may not matter if Samsung can make facial recognition work.

One of the most common criticisms of the Galaxy S8 images we've seen so far has been the apparently awkward placement of its fingerprint scanner. It's located around the back, according to leaked photos, to the right of the main camera lens, where it's not exactly convenient to reach. At the same time, the Note 7's iris recognition system, an alternative way to unlock the phone, was widely panned in last year's phone. But Samsung could have a solution to both problems.

Galaxy S8 leak

According to reports from Korea's The Investor, which cites local outlet Korea Economic Daily, Samsung will plug the gap with facial recognition in the upcoming phone.

"Due to some limits of iris scanning such as speed and accuracy, we have decided to add facial recognition to the Galaxy S8," a Samsung official was quoted as saying. "With a face scanner, it will take less than 0.01 seconds to unlock the phone."

Face recognition via the front-facing camera has been part of Android since 2011's 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich release, but it's always been finicky. (In fact, the feature failed publicly during its first on-stage demo at Google's Galaxy Nexus launch event, and hasn't improved much since.)

So if Samsung has made use of the additional sensors and computing horsepower of modern phones to make face recognition work quickly and reliably, it might convince GS8 owners that this should be their main security method. There will be challenges, however, such as making the system smart enough to not be fooled by a photograph, and handling face recognition in darker environments, where the Note 7's iris scanner didn't do so well.

We'll find out more when the Galaxy S8 officially breaks cover on March 29 in New York.