Here are the Android 11 features that Google is and isn’t forcing on OEMs
Google just started rolling out the first stable build of Android 11 to its Pixel range of devices. The company’s latest software release comes with a bunch of new user-facing changes like Bubble notifications, built-in screen recording support, redesigned media controls, and much more. Along with these, Android 11 includes several updates aimed at developers and a host of hidden changes that we spotted in the Android 11 source code. But while most of these changes will make their way to the Pixel lineup, Google isn’t forcing a few Android 11 features on OEMs. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at all the Android 11 features that Google is and isn’t requiring OEMs to implement.
As per the Android 11 Compatibility Definition Document (CDD), Google doesn’t require OEMs to implement 3 of Android 11’s biggest features. The CDD doesn’t list conversation notifications as required, it doesn’t require OEMs to implement the Controls API, and Identity Credential is also not a requirement. We first learned about these requirements earlier this year in June, when a leaked document detailing changes to the CDD were shared with us.
For the unaware, the Android CDD is a list of software and hardware features that devices makers “MUST” implement, are only “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED” to implement, or “SHOULD NOT” implement. If a feature is listed as “MUST” implement, then OEMs have to add the feature or they can’t ship Google apps on their devices. If a feature is listed as “SHOULD NOT” implement, device makers can’t add the feature. Finally, if a feature is listed as “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED,” then it’s up to the OEMs to include or skip the feature.
Since the Android 11 CDD lists all three of the aforementioned features as “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED,” there’s a chance that OEMs could ship their Android 11 updates without the features. However, this doesn’t mean that all OEMs will skip these features, as they could find them beneficial for users. It’s also possible that Google’s stricter Google Mobile Services licensing agreement for Android 11 requires OEMs to implement these features, but we don’t know the terms of those agreements.
Now that we’ve talked about the features that aren’t required, let’s take a look at some of the features that are explicitly required in Android 11:
Disallow facial appearance alteration
It seems that Google is banning OEMs from implementing facial tweaking algorithms during image processing. This means that all images from the camera pipeline, by default, won’t have faces tweaked, but facial tweaks can still be implemented in post by the camera app. As a result, turning off the beauty mode should actually turn it off, unless the OEM camera app doesn’t let you fully disable beauty mode or it has a hidden level 1 beauty mode that can never be turned off. While most OEM camera apps do let you turn it off, a few devices are known to apply beauty filters even when the beauty mode is turned off. For instance, in Max’s review of the Vivo X50 Pro, he noted how the camera kept altering his face even though he disabled beauty mode.
Roboto as the default font
Google also requires OEMs to ship Roboto as the default font in Android 11. However, device makers can still offer their own fonts to users during setup or in settings. Goog notes that “the intent is to ensure that app developer’s expectations are consistent with the default (e.g. without explicit user consent) on-device presentation of their apps, and the default sans-serif font is a highly-visible aspect of this presentation.”
New devices launching with Android 11 will be required to support fs-verity. According to Google, “fs-verity is similar to dm-verity, but implemented on a per-file basis…it is useful for efficiently verifying the authenticity of, or ‘appraising’, large files of which only a small portion may be accessed — such as Android application (APK) files…fs-verity also provides better protection against malicious disk firmware than an ahead-of-time hash, since fs-verity re-verifies data each time it’s paged in.”