Some of Android 11's best features may not come to your phone

Android 11 Hero
Android 11 Hero (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google will let OEMs choose whether to include some of Android 11's most interesting features, according to a leaked Compatibility Definition Document.
  • Android 11's new device controls and revealed notifications aren't mandatory for OEMs.
  • OEMs will also choose whether to implement the new IdentityCredential API, meant to facilitate the storage of government IDs on smartphones.

Android 11 made its debut earlier this month with a few features that made Google's operating system smarter and more helpful. Not all of these features are going to be mandatory for inclusion in Android 11 builds.

As spotted by XDA Developers, Google has updated Android 11's Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) to clarify whether features should be included or not, and whether that inclusion is to be mandatory or only strongly recommended.

Here's what won't be mandatory:

While it's a given that Google will include all of these features on its Pixel line, it is OEMs like Samsung and Xiaomi who define what Android means for hundreds of millions more.

XDA believes the changes are being made at the bequest of OEMs, and it's not entirely unreasonable to think of reasons why some manufacturers may want a little flexibility on this. For instance, if we look at the example of Devic Controls, a dedicated space for smart home products makes sense for people who live in ultra-connected spaces with a smart kettle, smart toaster, smart bulbs, etc. For someone who may be picking up a budget phone in a space that's more analog, it's a waste of screen real estate.

Broadly speaking, Android OEMs that hewed closely to Google's implementation in the past are likely to imminent these regardless of their status, while those who have diverged will continue to do so. Google might still make more changes to the CDD as time passes, but it's not expected to tighten up any of the requirements.

Android 11 Beta hands-on impressions: Rough, but worth installing

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio
Michael Allison