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Biometric features in Android 11 give developers more authentication security options

Biometric features in Android 11 give developers more authentication security options

New biometric features in Android 11 are making it easier for developers to choose the most convenient authentication methods, instead of relying on typical fingerprint recognition, writes Android Central.

The BiometricPrompt API in Android 9 introduced an interface that integrated different types of biometric authentication through capacitive and ultrasonic fingerprint scanners, iris scanning and facial recognition. This changed the way developers worked, as before they had to figure out an authentication solution that was not part of the system, Android Central explains. For example, implementing iris biometrics required using a Samsung SDK, while Huawei’s and HTC’s facial recognition-based unlocking systems were programmed through their own interfaces.

Android 10 brought along new updates that introduced universal authentication, but developers were limited to use only fingerprint scanners, iris scanners and 3D facial recognition, the only modalities considered secure by Google. As a result, Samsung Galaxy and Note series 8, 9 and 10 could initially not use the Biometric Prompt API.

In December, Samsung added Android 10 support for Google’s Biometric API in S9 devices. Around that same time, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon System-on-Chips (SoCs) was integrated with Android Identity Credential APIs and included on Android R, delivering support for on-phone ID cards.

In Android 11, a developer can write any biometric authentication method into an application, whether it is weak or strong, and no longer needs to rely on custom coding or third-party SDKs. A bank interested in strong authentication, for instance, might ignore the default facial recognition feature in Android or request an additional PIN code for enhanced security.

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