Snapdragon 865 Will Support Android 11’s On-Phone ID Card APIs
Earlier this year, we stumbled upon some hints of Google working on a form of digital ID storage for Android devices. Even back then, it was very early in its development and the chances of it making its way to Android 10 were slim. Now, Qualcomm has shed some more light on the yet-to-be-released features at its Tech Summit. The company just confirmed that its Snapdragon 865 and 765 chips will be the first to officially support digital ID storage.
We’re very excited to announce that Snapdragon will be the first mobile SoC to support Android Identity Credential APIs, which means that mobile drivers’ license and electronic ID will be possible with Android R.
It is achieved via an API called “IdentityCredential” framework, which will securely store documents such as a driver's license on a device. It lets users display said documents in their entirety or partially, as the situation demands. It is already possible to do so via several third-party apps, but they come with limitations. For one, it isn't possible to redact information any information stored this way.
One of the main shortcomings of a digital ID is that is can only be presented when your phone is powered on. Working around that can be rather tricky, and in some cases even impossible. Perhaps we could see some low-power mode designed explicitly to display digital IDs. XDA Developers surmises:
In a future version of Android, perhaps Android R, devices with the right hardware will be able to securely store identification cards, especially digital driver’s licenses, and even access them when the device doesn’t have enough power to boot Android.
Despite Qualcomm's official confirmation, it is still too early to make any assumptions about the IdentityCredential framework APIs. Like most endeavors, it could end up as a Pixel exclusive. We should know more about it once the Android 11 beta drops.