Until now, the system UI in Android didn’t allow applications to add new elements to the operating system, but things are about to change in Android N, which will loose up this restriction. One of the big changes in the upcoming OS will give developers the possibility to insert an app settings link in their app info screen – the place where the users see permissions, data storage, notification status etc.
The settings link will appear as a small gear icon on which the users will tap to open the application’s settings. This feature can be enabled by the developers by adding string to their manifest with this value: android.intent.action. APPLICATION _PREFERENCES.
Android N will be released this fall, but Google has already made it available as a Developer Preview and the software is accessible via the beta testing program, or the users can flash the factory image. The owners of the Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones and the Nexus 9 (WiFi and LTE) tablet have received the first update over the air. The Nexus 5X and 6P devices have received the update with the build number NPC56W and the file weighs 27.3MB, while the Nexus 9 tablet received the update with the build number NCP56R.
The new features of Android N that are tested by the developers and users enrolled in the beta testing program are: multi-window support, where the applications can be resized if they have been created using a specific code; direct reply notifications, so that the users will no longer need to navigate away from their current window in order to respond to messages; there’s a new quick settings menu like the ones used by Samsung and LG; bundled notifications, so all notifications from an application will appear in a notification shade; Doze 2.0 will limit background tasks when the screen will be turned off; emergency information on the lock screen etc.