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New Android version rolled out to AOSP, Nexus 7 devices

The latest version of Google's Android mobile OS has been released to the Android Open-Source Project, bringing with it several changes that apply to the Nexus 7 tablet - and hint at a new Nexus tablet to come.

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The most remarked-upon change in Android 4.1.2 - which does not, alas, bring a new dessert-flavored moniker to the table - is that it allows the home screen on the Nexus 7 to be used in landscape mode. Previously, the device was restricted to portrait mode. It also includes assorted performance tweaks and, according to Android Police, adjustments to how expandable notifications are handled. That blog also noted that leaked photos from the XDA Developers forum seemed to show the widely rumored LG Nexus smartphone running the new version.

However, a statement by AOSP technical lead Jean-Baptiste Queru on Google Groups may hint at a broader reason behind version 4.1.2's release.

"Future variants of the grouper [Nexus 7] hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1," he wrote. While this directly indicates only that the Nexus 7 is getting a hardware revision - he called the upgrade "functionally identical" elsewhere in the thread - several publications have guessed that this also implies a new Nexus tablet is on the way.

Android 4.1.2 is already being pushed from Google's servers to Nexus 7 tablets. Users should check their devices for an available update to make sure their system is patched to the latest Android version.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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