Samsung is looking to enhance the fingerprint senor's capabilities beyond that of only locking and unlocking the phone. The published patent indicates that the company hopes to bring swipe functionalities to their fingerprint scanners, which will enable the user to perform various actions by making swipe gestures on the fingerprint scanner itself. If you are not aware, then let us inform you that this sounds very similar to what the Google Pixel phones brought with them this year. Before you call out Samsung for "copying" the Pixels, note that they had actually filed for this particular patent way back in 2014.
Will we be able to swipe directly from the fingerprint scanner and launch an application from the lock screen on the Galaxy S8? We are not entirely sure to be honest. Many rumors indicate that the S8 will feature the company's first commercial bezel-less display, of which, a new optical fingerprint scanner will be an embedded part. If that turns out to be true, it is hard to tell whether that particular scanner will also be able to support the swipe functionality.
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
Google I/O 2015 is about to start with the big announcement of Android "M" developer Preview. Google might announce native support for fingerprint scanner in Android M version (6.0). although the company declined to comment on that. Ars Technica found commits in AOSP for Nexus 6 for a fingerprint sensor, which Google has been working on on the software side. The Nexus 6 was also supposed to have a fingerprint sensor but according to Motorola ex-CEO Dennis Woodside, Apple bought the one good company that made those.
With native fingerprint scanner support in the OS, all the apps can tap into it and use it for authentication. You would be able to use it for your Play Store purchases, or Google Wallet authentication, or for apps like 1Password, Authy, Dropbox, OneDrive, Simplenote, or any other app that allows you to use a passcode lock, and that currently use Touch ID on iOS, can be used with the fingerprint scanner if they add support for it on Android.
Currently very few Android phones have a fingerprint scanner, with only the recent Galaxy S6 and S6 edge having implemented it the right way, but we could see more devices in future if Google does decide to include it in Android M.