Like death and taxes, one of life’s certainties is that Google always manages to leave behind code inside of Android that either hints at features they have planned down the line, or just features that didn’t quite make the cut. We saw this with Dark Mode which can still be found hidden inside of the latest Android 7.0 Nougat update, you just need to activate using some code (or this handy app).
But Nougat still holds a few more secrets. Someone managed to stumble upon navigation bar customizer that gives users the ability to mix, match, or add new software buttons to the nav bar. It’s fairly robust, and not too unlike the customization options we’ve seen on Huawei, HTC, and LG devices. Options include a clipboard (where items can be dragged directly onto the icon in the nav bar), add a specific keyboard button, or just rearrange buttons and adjust width. It’s a little broken at the moment, but we have to admit, it’s pretty damn awesome.
Whether Google is planning to add this to Android proper or perhaps saving it as a “Nexus exclusive,” remains to be seen. It’s interesting to see Google toying with this idea as it really showcases the flexibility of using software keys over capacitive ones. This is something we would have expected to see in Android when software keys first became available on Android devices.
The good news if you can actually flash a ZIP file right now if you’re looking to test it out. The bad news? This feature is only available for the Nexus 6P. Head on over to the thread on XDA to get flashing. Of course, you’ll need to be running Nougat, will want to create a backup, yada, yada, yada — all the usual stuff.