The latest build of Android "Jelly Bean" brings a horizontal mode to 7-inch tablets.
Jean-Baptiste Queru, Google's chief release engineer, has announced that the company is currently releasing Android 4.1.2 "Jelly Bean" to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Queru said that this is a minor update to Android v4.1.1 which was released back in July, around the same time Google's Nexus 7 tablet began shipping to customers.
"As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity," he said. "Future variants of the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1."
The system update will bring a welcome change to Nexus 7 owners: landscape orientation on the Home screen for 7-inch tablets. It will also bring improved performance and stability, and fix bugs. There are also reports that the inability to connect to WPA enterprise wireless networks is now fixed. Other than that, Google isn't really offering details.
Android Police reports that v4.1.2 has already started rolling out to the Nexus 7 tablets. Other devices slated to receive the new Jelly Bean include the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus and the Motorola Xoom tablets. These images also show the new build running on the supposed LG Nexus phone.
Google's latest build seemingly backs up a previous rumor that Asus and Google may launch a dock this holiday season. Speculation sparked with the discovery of the candy cane Easter egg found in Android 4.1, indicating that Google may release something major within the next few months. Then Asus reportedly confirmed that the four pogo charging contacts will connect to an audio dock which will allow the Nexus 7 to sit horizontally. Users will be able to watch movies while the tablet recharges.
Impatient Nexus 7 owners ready to update their tablet can take the manual route as shown here. The current OS installation on the device will need to be Android 4.1.1 build JRO03D in order to receive the manual update, and owners will need adb to actually install the update from a connected desktop or laptop. Otherwise, the newer Jelly Bean should arrive soon.