Google may have released a developer preview of Android L this summer, but the operating system won’t officially launch until this fall. So while developers dig into the preview to make sure their apps are ready to take advantage of the new design and other features, developers at Google are busy killing bugs… and adding new features.
The folks at xda-developers have discovered a handful of new features that could find their way into the next version of Android by the time it launches this fall.
Here are some of the features that may be included in Android L by the time it hits the streets this fall:
Customizable Quick Settings
When you swipe down from the top of a screen on an Android device you can access a Quick Settings panel which gives you fast access to features including screen brightness, wireless settings, and alarms.
Right now Google doesn’t provide an easy way to change the settings that are available in the Quick Settings area. But it looks like the company could be planning to make this area customizable .
If you’ve used a custom ROM or a rooted device with GravityBox or other Xposed framework modules, you may already know how this works: Don’t need to disable mobile data very often, but find that you’re constantly turning WiFi Hotspot functionality on or off? Just add or remove a tile, or change their placement in the Quick Settings panel.
Google hasn’t committed to adding the ability to customize Quick Settings to Android L, but the company has “accepted” the issue in the Android L Developer Preview Issue tracker and given it a feature number. That suggests the company is at least considering bringing it to Android L.
Native Quick Torch
Have a phone that has an LED flash by the camera? Odds are you can use it as a flashlight by opening the video recorder app, turning on the flash, and leaving it on… or you can install any number of third party apps that do this without shooting a video.
Soon you might not need a third party app. Native Quick Torch has been marked as a “feature” in the Android Developer Preview Issue Tracker, which means that you might be able to fire up the flashlight from the Quick Settings tray.
Another feature that may be on the way is aimed at developers — although it could have a big impact on users. Google has acknowledged and marked as “feature” a request to re-enable the ability for third party apps to write to external storage (like a microSD card), something that’s available in earlier versions of Android but absent in Android 4.4.