The Android 7.1 developer preview is rolling out, so Nexus phones are getting their first taste of the software shipping on the Pixel. Since it's a dev preview, it can be hard to know if missing features are missing because they're not done, or if they just aren't going to be included at all. Googler Ian lake has clarified that two features not listed as Pixel-exclusive still won't be coming to existing Nexus phones—night light and fingerprint reader gestures.
Android 7.1 is the first time Google has created features that are exclusive for its devices, which had made the entire changelog situation rather convoluted. We don't just have to worry about figuring out what is and isn't a Pixel exclusive, but also which standard 7.1 features require specific hardware that existing phones might not have. That's the issue with the aforementioned features.
Night light tints the screen red to reduce the amount of blue light you see, which studies show can negatively affect sleep patterns. In Android 7.1, night light uses a new hardware composer interface instead of a GL shader. That means driver support is needed, but the Nexus devices don't have that. As for fingerprint reader gestures, the swipe down to open notifications won't work on the 6P or 5X because the hardware used in those phones won't support it. That's unfortunate, but no amount of complaining will change the hardware features of your phone.
- +Ian Lake