Google might bring one of the neat new features of its Pixel smartphones to some older devices, according to new reports.
The Pixel lets users swipe as they scan their fingerprints in order to get quick access to notifications, a feature that Samsung may be seeking to emulate for its own forthcoming devices. But with the Pixel having just launched last month, it didn’t take long for some users to notice that it uses the same fingerprint sensor as that used in its previous Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones – which prompted questions about why the feature wasn’t available on those devices.
Google’s answer is that while those devices’ hardware does support the swipe scan feature, the firmware doesn’t. But while firmware is hardcoded into a device’s memory, it appears to be possible that Google could update it. Accordingly, Google says it is “evaluating” such a possibility, and that users should “stay tuned”.
That’s no guarantee, of course; and given that rivals are trying to pioneer iris scanning authentication for their own devices, which could offer even more intuitive access control, Google may be too busy racing to develop more sophisticated technologies to devote time and resources to extending this relatively minor feature to older devices. But it might, if users want it badly enough.