Thursday, August 17, 2017
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Google will require OEMs to support Android’s notification bundling and direct reply features

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Google released a new version of its Compatibility Definition Document for Android earlier this week, and while most of the changes are very, very minor, one did stand out to me in the section on notifications. Specifically, Google has singled out manufacturers who in any way obstruct or remove Android’s native notification actions, replies, settings access, and the bundling of notifications. The latest document forbids such practices, stating that OEMs must comply with Google’s implementations of the features in AOSP. Here is the relevant section:

Handheld device implementations MUST support the behaviors of updating, removing, replying to, and bundling notifications as described in this section.

Also, handheld device implementations MUST provide:

  • The ability to control notifications directly in the notification shade.
  • The visual affordance to trigger the control panel in the notification shade.
  • The ability to BLOCK, MUTE and RESET notification preference from a package, both in the inline control panel as well as in the settings app.

While I’m not aware of any manufacturer outside China messing with this functionality in a way that would seem to break these rules, this will ensure a consistent Android notification experience going forward. It’s also interesting to note that the new clause requires that users be able to access the control panel (quick settings toggles) directly from the notification shade, though again, most manufacturers have been doing this for some time.

This version of the CDD applies to devices certified under the Android 7.1 CTS.

As a small bonus tidbit that I found but didn’t exactly deem article-worthy, Google has laid out basic rules for its new seamless OS update feature. Well, really, one rule: It’s optional. Manufacturers will not be required to use seamless A/B updates, though I feel like we heard something similar from Googlers about this way back at I/O last year during a chat with some of the Android team.

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