While it was rumored that LG would be the first to launch a current-generation smartphone with a fingerprint sensor, with the forthcoming iPhone 5S widely expected to be second in line, it appears Korean company Pantech has beaten both of them to it with the new Vega LTE-A.

As the name suggests, the handset also supports the new faster-than-4G LTE-Advanced standard, the second one to do so after Samsung’s S4 LTE-A …

There had been rumors that the LG G2, due for launch tomorrow, would have a fingerprint sensor based on photos of the rear shell … 



However, the word on the street is that what is shown here is merely rear volume controls and power switch. I have to say it still looks like a fingerprint sensor to me – I guess we’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

Over on the Apple side, the forthcoming iPhone 5S, expected to be launched next month, is strongly rumored to have a fingerprint sensor as its key differentiating feature from the existing iPhone 5. Whether the specific rumors are true or not, fingerprint sensors are starting to look like the new must-have smartphone feature.

A fingerprint sensor first appeared in early models of the Motorola Atrix 2 back in 2011, but was later removed by Motorola.

If you’ve never heard of Pantech, by the way, that’s because it makes phones almost exclusively for its domestic Korean market, where it’s actually second only to Samsung (ahead of LG). The full specs of the phone put it well up there with other flagship handsets: 5.5-inch 1080p display, 2.3.GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 13-MP camera and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

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