Biometric security has been evolving pretty rapidly over the past few years, especially with Samsung debuting their version of iris scanning on the Galaxy Note 7 and following through with the Galaxy S8 and now Galaxy S9. It hasn’t completely replaced the fingerprint scanner as the default biometric lock screen, but we’re moving in that direction.
However, just like fingerprint scanners, manufacturers built them into their devices well before it was actually supported in Android natively. Samsung uses their own solution for iris scanning in their flagship devices, which is ahead of the curve but suffers from the lack of true integration into Google’s operating system.
And also like fingerprint scanners, now that iris scanning and facial unlocking features are gaining in popularity, Google wants to bake that functionality right into Android.
There are several commits to AOSP from the same company that provides fingerprint sensors to bigger Android OEMs like Google, Huawei, and others, and they all point towards Android taking a standardized approach towards iris scanner communications.
So what does this mean for the end user and future versions of Android? Well, short term it’s pretty meaningless. I think it’s a stretch to assume it’ll happen in time for Android P, but it does mean that there’s enough behind-the-scenes interest in iris scanning biometrics for it to become a more commonplace feature in Android devices. It’s not something to expect in cheaper phones, but just like every flagship now supports fingerprint scanning, we might see this become the norm in a couple years.
source: XDA Developers