Android Device Makers Now Required To Support Notification Bundling And Direct Reply Features, Google Says


Earlier this week, Google pushed out a new version of its Compatibility Definition Document for Android. The changes were minimal and did not spell a great deal, save for one particular change in relation to notifications.

Google To OEMs: Don't Mess With The Notifications

Google now requires manufacturers to refrain from obstructing or in any way removing native notification actions in Android, alongside replies, access to settings, and notification bundling. The latest document informs developers that Google prohibits such behaviors, and OEMs should ensure their compliance of the features in the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP.

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

Of course, Google didn't specify which manufacturers are violating the said guidelines, although setting it in place and identifying such averse practices should ensure a consistent notification experience on Android devices. Interestingly, the new clause also requires that users be able to toggle settings from a control panel. Most manufacturers already have this in place, though, as users can usually find quick settings when pulling down the notification shade.

By versing these new requirements clearly, app developers can properly design the way their products integrate Android's notification features. This ensures that basic functions work on the same platform and across different OEMs.

Apart from these, the new clause also requires that users be able to block, mute, and reset notification preferences from a package, and that these options be included in both the inline control panel and in the settings app.

The new CDD version applies to all Android devices certified under the Android 7.1 CTS.

Notifications In Android Nougat

A revamped notification system was one of the most notable features of Android 7.0 Nougat, Google's most recent operating system. Its look and behavior was one of the most overhauled too, having been formatted as full-width elements, while also designed to convey information in a lot less space.

There's also notification bundling that makes for a less cluttered control panel shade and a quick reply feature that lets users respond to messages without opening the appropriate app to perform it. The new clause is Google's firm assurance that no manufacturer will mess with its notifications.

Other Interesting Things Found On The New CDD

Google has also laid out fundamentals for its seamless OS update feature, making the feature optional only. That means manufacturers won't be forced to use seamless A/B updates.

The CDD is meant to be Google's guidelines, requirements, and recommendation for OEMs who are planning to use Android as their products' operating system. It's also doubles as a compatibility barometer in relation to what the most recent version of the OS is at a given time. Complying with the CDD will allow OEMs to pass Google's Compatibility Test Suite.

Got a smartphone with a wonky notification system or one that features a configuration heavily askew as compared with Google's? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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