Desktops add biometrics to their lineup

Seeing a demand from federal agencies, PC makers said they are increasingly launching new desktops that boast of biometric authentication, either embedded in the hardware or added as a separate scanner.

"It eliminates all the headaches of passwords," said Harvey Bondar, vice president of marketing for DigitalPersona, which announced a new partnership with Gateway Inc. this week to provide the PC company with add-on fingerprint readers.

Agencies "really need a here-and-now solution," Bondar said at the FOSE trade show in Washington, where some original equipment manufacturers had the biometric-enabled desktops on display.

Gateway has begun selling DigitalPersona's U.are.U Pro Fingerprint Authentication System as part of a package with its desktop hardware or as an add-on feature, depending on agency needs. Starting a few months ago, Apple Computer Inc. began reselling a separate fingerprint identification unit, developed by Sony Electronics Inc. and compatible with its Mac OS X.

"We're starting to get a couple requests to have biometrics on the desktop," agreed Michael S. Adkins, chief executive officer and president of MPC Computers LLC, formerly MicronPC. "It's very secure."

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