Current biometric authentication tools found on smartphones suffer from some drawbacks; fingerprint readers typically require additional hardware -- the original Motorola Atrix being one notable exception -- while Android's face unlock doesn't work well in the dark and can by circumvented by pictures of the phone's owner. Japanese telco KDDI might be on to an alternative that bypasses those glaring problems.

At CEATEC 2012, the company has been showing off a demo app that authenticates identity by taking a high-resolution picture of your palm, rather than scanning your finger. The authenticator flashes the camera's LED when it snaps a pic of your palm, circumventing the darkness issue, and it's a lot harder for would-be baddies to get a hold of your hand in the pre-calibrated palm-scanning position than it is for them to pick up an image of your smiling face.

Engadget reports that the recognition process isn't instantaneous, but it did tell the difference between the palms of the two editors who took the tech for a test drive. That's not surprising; palm prints are just as unique as fingerprints. "Because fingerprints and palms have both uniqueness and permanence, they have been used for more than a century as a trusted form of identification," the FBI Biometric Center of Excellence says.

KDDI isn't the only phone manufacturer focusing on biometric security in a bid to appeal to enterprise customers. Apple recently snapped up Authentec, a premier fingerprint authentication and all-around security solution provider.

Does palm authentication sound too good to be true? You'll be able to test it out for yourself tomorrow, when the demo app is slated to go live in the Google Play Store. Presuming all goes well, expect to see the technology start showing up in KDDI phones some time thereafter.

Via Engadget and UberGizmo