Google introduced a simple fingerprint scanner gesture on the Pixel and Pixel XL that allows you to "swipe" the scanner to access the notification shade. This was not brought to the Nexus 5X and 6P, though, despite being an Android 7.1 feature, and the devices use the same fingerprint scanner hardware as the new Pixels. After some confusion, technical reasons were offered up for the lack of support for the feature - namely: the firmware version of the scanner on the old phones wasn't capable of implementing it, but that a firmware update was seemingly possible - it seemed that Google could potentially add the feature to the 5X and 6P, but for one reason or another chose not to.
We asked Google about this possibility. While the reply was short, and I don't want to provide anyone false hope here, it seems they've taken the minor uproar over this in stride. Google's PR has told us they are "evaluating" a firmware update for the Nexus 5X and 6P to add support for the fingerprint scanner gesture of the Pixels.
Evaluating does not mean this is certain or even likely to happen. It just means Google is considering it. That said, Google's willingness to comment at all on future plans here would seem to indicate that they are taking user feedback about the issue into consideration, and are at the very least willing to explore the feasibility of providing the feature to owners of last year's Nexuses.
Google had no more details to share about when news of whether such an update was happening would arrive, or what factors would come into play when considering adding the feature or not, but did tell us to "stay tuned."
The situation with the fingerprint scanner gesture is just one of several that seems to be part of a larger feeling by owners of older Nexus devices that Google is short-changing them on features, many claim unnecessarily, in the name of promoting its new Pixel phones. While a single feature is unlikely to be indicative of a larger change in attitude from Google about "Pixel exclusive" features, it is nice to know they are at least listening to feedback from fans.