Iris scans is the new big trend in the smartphone industry, and Android is full fledgedly hopping on it. As it appears, iris scanners may be coming to more Android phones in the future, as official support for it is being added to Android P.
A company called FPC ActiveIRIS, has been working on incorporating native support for biometric iris scanners in Android. Smartphones such as Google Pixel, the Honor 8, and the Huawei Mate 9 Pro, use fingerprint scanners from FPC. Its fingerprint sensors are found on many other devices, including several from Xiaomi, so it’s safe to say that FPC is one of the leading vendors in selling the biometric authentication technology found in smartphones.
With native development in Android, devices will support products from multiple vendors and not just FPC.
There is also a commit that adds support for iris identification in the keyguard. This will allow users to scan their iris to dismiss the lock screen. According to the commit, iris authentication only occurs as soon as the screen turns on in order to reduce power consumption.
Further, the Iris scanner can be disabled according to the Device Policy Manager if that authority deems the iris scanner an insecure method of authentication.
Besides this, in the past we have also learnt that Android P could implement a rule that would prevent background apps from accessing the camera. Apparently, this rule will be applied to apps’ User IDs, which are unique identifiers that Android associates to each application when it’s installed. Whenever an ID becomes idle, for instance if a device goes into Doze mode, Android will block off its access to the camera.
Google is also said to be working on an overhaul of its Android mobile OS in order to mimic the notch at the top of the device. The update with native support for the notch is expected to be shipped as part of the next version of Android due to launch later this year. The operating system is also said to tightly integrate Google Assistant, and offer improvements in key areas such as battery life on phones and support for new device form factors including multiple screens and foldable displays.
Google is apparently also exploring the option to integrate the search bar on the Android home screen with the Assistant. While Apple has scaled back on major improvement to its mobile operating system, Google seems to be planning a dramatic redesign including support for the notch.