I remember my first Android device, and how it differed to the ones I have now in one major point: navigation keys. My old Motorola XT316 (a mid-range phone for Latin American markets) came with Froyo 2.2 and featured 4 TFT capacitive navigation keys: menu, home, back, and the long gone “search”. Android phones have come a long way since that OS, and since the early days of archaic UI design and choppy performance. Now we have the most beautiful and smoothest Android, and arguably one of the best Operating Systems… But there’s something that I really think has not improved all that much despite all the optimizations, and that is navigation.
While there’s always room for improvement, I do think Android has much, much bigger problems than this, like, you know, updates?
With a custom ROM I had on my old Nexus 4 (which subsequently died), I could customize the navigation keys. I had it set so when I held down the back button, the currently running application would terminate. This was EXTREMELY useful when an app would lock up and/or start misbehaving.
Now I have a carrier-locked Moto X which can’t be rooted, so this functionality is no longer available to me. If there’s anything I miss from My N4, it was this one feature. Of course, you can tap the recent apps list and kill it that way, but not as convenient. I’d also like to be able to add back the menu button. I don’t care if it sometimes does nothing when pressed.