At this point, biometric authentication has been part of Android for a couple of years, but times are changing and so is our way of logging into our phones. Face unlock is the next big thing, and Google encourages developers to add support for Android’s “Biometric API,” which enhances biometrics for all.
Google explains why it shifted to this new API in a blog post aimed at developers as well as detailing how developers can shift to it.
Google implemented fingerprint sensor support with the “FingerprintManager” class back in Android Marshmallow, but it was a very simple solution. Developers had to create their own fingerprint UI, and only fingerprints were supported. Things began to change with the addition of “BiometricPrompt” in Android Pie. This offered a common design that could be used by developers that also operated on more types of biometric authentication.
Now, with Android 10, with the “Biometric API,” Google is making more changes.
Moving forward, Google wants this new API to be used by all users, and it also relies heavily on their new phone updates. The new face unlocking system of the Pixel 4 actually requires apps to accept these new APIs, so there is clearly a reason for Google to press for quicker adoption. Google does not, however, allow developers into the new biometric library. Nonetheless, those who upgrade can have a stable gui that works back to Marshmallow all the way back.
If you’re a developer looking to support these new APIs, the blog post from Google contains more information on how to implement them.