Googler explains why they won’t bring Pixel’s fingerprint gestures to Nexus

One of the great new features of Google’s Pixel phones is the fingerprint gestures that have been added to give you additional ways to perform tasks with the device. Some Nexus owners expected to see those features brought over to last year’s Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, but Google has stated it has no intention of doing so.

Earlier Google reasoned that this was due to a lack of hardware but as it turned out, both the Nexus 6P and the Pixel share the exact same fingerprint sensor. This sparked a controversy on reddit with several users accusing Google of lying to customers. So now that the grand conspiracy to leave Nexus owners high and dry when it comes to fancy new Google Pixel features like has finally been exposed, the question of “why” comes back again.

The simple answer – contrary to conspiracy theories about Google wanting to push the Nexus owners towards the expensive Pixel – seems to be that bringing fingerprint gestures to the existing Nexus devices just wasn’t a priority at Google, even though it is apparently “doable”.


Ian Lake, a Developer Advocate at Google, previously said that :

The fingerprint swipe requires specific hardware which unfortunately is not present on the Nexus 5X and 6P AFAIK.

But now that teardowns have revealed the truth about hardware, Lake has now come out and explained, in an email apparently to Android Police privately, that the real problem is with the firmware used on the Nexus 6P’s fingerprint sensor and not the hardware as he erroneously speculated.  “Same hardware doesn’t mean same capabilities, alas.”

Despite that, a kernel developer at Google commented in another thread discussing the issue to address why last year’s devices aren’t getting fingerprint swipe gestures.

To clarify this point, bullhead and angler use similar hardware but older versions of firmware that don’t have gesture support. Updating the firmware used and HAL and some other stuff will take some effort. Doable.

So it’s not entirely impossible but likely won’t happen because Google has other priorities than bringing new features to its old Nexus devices.

What’s important to note here though is that, just like the original comment, none of this is officially from Google and a Googler’s “AFAIK” comment on a non official Internet forum should not be taken as the company’s official response.

There are however, third-party apps that give your phone this functionality. I covered one of them yesterday called Fingerprint Quick Action, which gives you both a fingerprint quick swipe and a fingerprint tap gesture and plenty of options.

If you’re a Nexus 6P or 5X owner, I’d like to know your thoughts about this. Do you understand Google’s position? Certainly, if updating the firmware for the fingerprint sensor is going to take a lot of time and money, I can see why Google would want to focus the resources elsewhere and move forward instead. What about you? Do you think Google should make the effort? Sound off in the comments below.

Source : Android Police


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