A new commit in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository suggests that facial authentication is coming to Android as a system level API. It could mean that from system point of view, Android P could well allow for facial authentication on devices, assuming of course that the hardware to do so is built into the device.
Currently, for manufactures to support facial authentication (like OnePlus for example), they have to build their own app and leverage existing APIs, mostly around the fingerprint authentication. That works, obviously, but it isn’t as optimized as it could be and it is dependent upon OEMs to build the supporting software & hardware to make it happen. This commit would more-or-less standardize things for Android.
Leveraging a new system level API, the platform itself would have the ability to enable Face Authentication on devices that have the hardware to support it. As the commit is written right now, it would allow for the authentication of one person per device which, up until the announcement of multiple face support in iOS 12 yesterday, was the industry standard. The commit also outlines the various APIs that would need to be adjusted to support this feature.
All-in-all, it is good to see this come to the platform and take it out of the hands of OEMs. This assures that it is a level playing field across all Android devices.