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October 10, 2012

Google Android Unveils Rotating Home Screen Option Update

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Google Android (News - Alert) will reportedly have an update offering a rotating home screen included in its upcoming maintenance update, which will be given to devices using Android 4.1 Jellybean.

Jean-Baptiste M. Queru, Android open source project leader for Google (News - Alert), gave details on the update on Tuesday, writing “We’re releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update on top of 4.1.1.” Although Queru described the update as minor, in truth the inclusion of a rotating home screen is a big step for Google where Android is concerned. 

Image via Shutterstock

Previous to this update, the majority of Android devices did not have auto-rotating home screens, which set the devices apart from other smartphones. When an Android device is turned sideways, the home screen retains its orientation, meaning it does not rotate along with the device. As a result, when the phone is turned sideways, the screen’s content is sideways and is therefore harder to read.

The update changes this completely. Of course, there were some Android devices which had the auto-rotating home screen feature, but they were the minority--only a handful of devices with slide-out QWERTY keyboards.

Now that the change will become a more mainstream offering, third-party app companies will no longer be needed to resolve the issue.

Before, Apps have been made available through the Google Play Store, such as the Ultimate Rotation Control app which works for the Nexus 7, to offer Android users more flexibility and options for their home screen rotation.

All an Android device user needs to do is update to Android Jellybean 4.1.2. Using the updated version, when the device is tipped, the icons and other on-screen content rotates accordingly, so that it will appear upright to the user no matter which way the phone is held.

The update is not currently available, however. Queru did not mention a specific date for the update’s release, but sources are saying it will be made available soon. Reportedly Nexus devices such as the Nexus 7 and the Galaxy Nexus will be the first to receive the 4.1.2 update when it comes out.  Additionally, the update will include elements addressing various bugs and performance issues in Jellybean.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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