We’ve made no secret of our love for the Android Open Kang Project, known more informally as AOKP. Team Kang’s custom builds of open source Android 4.0 have become some of the most popular on the Galaxy Nexus and a growing number of other devices. Team member Zaphod Beeblebrox (a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is) posted a preview of the upcoming Build 30, which has an interesting surprise in store: customizable shortcuts on the Galaxy Nexus navigation bar.

There have been quite a few mods for the nav bar already, but most of them are purely aesthetic, changing the color of the buttons or background. One of the more popular mods (which is already integrated into AOKP) is the ability to add the Search button and remove or rearrange the existing buttons. But the latest build will allow you to put a shortcut to any app next to the familiar Home, Back and multi-tasking buttons. It’s not limited to apps, either – like most launchers, you can put certain functions like the app drawer in there as well. You can even use your own icons to keep everything theme-friendly.

Words don’t really do this feature justice. Check it out in action below:

The integration isn’t quite as seamless as you’d think – as a necessity of Ice Cream Sandwich’s UI calls, you’ll have to rearrange the buttons manually in the Settings menu instead of dragging and dropping. And of course, devices without virtual navigation buttons (pretty much all smartphones besides the Galaxy Nexus at this point) won’t be able to partake. I’m wondering how this will work on the AOKP tablet ROMs. Build 30 should be out within a week or two for the Galaxy Nexus and following shortly there after for the two or three dozen supported devices. If you’re itching to try out Android 4.0.4, you can download Build 29 now.