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At last, you brave Droid X owners! That long-awaited day is finally here; you’re getting some Gingerbread tonight. Not feeling like being outdone by HTC, Motorola is rolling out the Gingerbread update to Droid X users as we speak. Members at the DroidXForums have confirmed that a “silent update” started rolling out a few minutes ago. The update process is pretty quick and painless, but those of you with modified software will have to restore to stock to get the update. Here are the many features Gingerbread will bring to your Droid X:

  • UI refinements for simplicity and speed
  • Faster, more intuitive text input
  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste
  • Improved power management
  • Control over applications. “Manage applications” shortcut in the Home menu
  • Native Internet calling support
  • Downloads app for downloads management
  • Many under the hood enhancements to speed and responsiveness

If you’re feeling a little adventurous today, you can manually update your Droid X by following the instructions here, but proceed at your own risk.

 

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Logitech’s Ashish Arora, VP and general manager of the big L’s Digital Home Group, this afternoon addressed the rumors that Google had asked for Google TV devices to not be shipped while they work on an software update to address a number of feature deficiencies. Says Arora:

Those familiar with our product know that we don’t need to modify the Logitech Revue box to deliver software enhancements. Each of our customers will receive periodic over-the-air updates whenever Google and Logitech release changes to the Google TV platform. Logitech Revue boxes purchased at launch in October, as a holiday gift in December or to follow basketball in the spring, will all be the same and will all benefit from the same software updates.

Logitech and Google continue to have a collaborative, effective working relationship as we listen to consumer feedback and work together on enhancements to the Google TV platform. We at Logitech are enthusiastic about Google TV and our role in bringing this new platform to U.S. consumers.

All true. The Revue set-top box is updated just like any other Android device. (In fact, the update looks exactly like any other Android device.) But we couldn’t help but notice that there’s really nothing in there (or the two other paragraphs we didn’t quote) that addresses whether Google asked (or told) Logitech to not ship Revues while the software situation’s sorted out. We agree that to do so might be a tad over the top. While the entire Google TV experience still has a lot of room to grow (read into that what you will), there’s still plenty of functionality that can be had out of the box.

So the question remains: Did Google pressure Logitech and others to halt shipping in favor of an update? Possible. And the Revue currently is out of stock. We’re not sure how long it’s been unavailable. Could be that it’s simply sold out, could be otherwise.

Arora closes with “After a brief holiday break, Logitech’s Revue team will be heading to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, where we look forward to demonstrating how Google TV is transforming the TV-watching experience.

 

Apps, apps, apps! Everywhere you look, more apps. Both Android and Windows Phone 7 have reportedly crossed a couple of round number milestones recently, giving us a decent idea of the maturity gapbetween the two. Microsoft’s brand new OS with an old OS’ name has rounded the 5,000 available apps corner — that’s according to two sources keeping track of what’s on offer in the Marketplace — while AndroLib’s latest data indicates Android’s crossed the 200,000 threshold when it comes to apps and games taken together. We’re cautious on taking either of these numbers as hard truth, particularly since AndroLib was reporting 100,000 Android apps when there were only 70,000 — but they do provide rough estimates as to where each platform is in terms of quantity, if not quality. Now, where do you think each will be this time in 2011?

White HTC EVO 4G now available from Sprint and authorized retail partners

For those of you holding out on getting the white HTC EVO 4G but simply couldn’t bear the thought of going to your nearest Best Buy, we have some great news.  Over the weekend, the white HTC EVO 4G has been made available at all Sprint stores, online, and at authorized retail partners.  The price for the white EVO is still set at $199.99 after the $100 mail-in rebate and two year contract.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you have actually purchase the white EVO 4G over its black counterpart?  I’ve spotted a few in the wild, but the number of sightings appears to vastly favor the black model

 

 

When the Palm Pre disappeared from Sprint’s website last week, many speculated that the world’s first webOS phone was probably gone for good. Now, a leaked document obtained by enthusiast blog PreCentral.net puts another nail in the smartphone’s coffin. According to the document and accompanying report, Sprint’s Palm Pre has been designated as EOL (End of Life) by the carrier, meaning it will no longer be sold. Remaining inventory, which is said to be in the hundreds, will be depleted by physical Sprint stores and telesales, and then Sprint’s Pre is off to the great gig in the sky. Though no announcement has been made, this could mean that Sprint will soon offer the Palm Pre 2 as a replacement to the original. Of course it could also mean Sprint is shifting focus away from Palm devices for the time being, and onto the Android platform where devices like the EVO 4G have done quite well for the carrier. Sprint did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

 

It all started as a despicable rumor, but now AT&T’s charged ahead and made it official – its version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab will indeed cost $649, which is $50 more than the other carriers’ versions and $30 more than the cheapest 3G-capable iPad. Disappointing as that may seem, a $50 virtual gift card for Samsung’s Media Hub is included, as is a bunch of bloatware nobody wants (sigh). At least you get relatively cheap pay-as-you-go plans – $15 for 200MB of data and $25 for 2GB of it.

On the other hand, US Cellular will also be piping the seven-inch tablet, albeit for $399 on a new two-year contract and $499 off contract, the same as Sprint. Unfortunately, the carrier’s plans are a bit less reasonable than AT&T’s: $14.99 for 200MB or $54.99 for 5GB, although the latter plan comes with with the Belief Project (which enables customers to upgrade their devices for free after 18 months as well as numerous other benefits) and tethering. Choices, choices…

 

Apple vs Motorola Lawsuit

More Apple drama is coming Android’s way! Apple is going to sue Motorola specifically over multitouch on nearly every Motorola device running Android OS. In addition to the multitouch claim, Apple is bringing Motorola to court for:

  • Object-Oriented System Locator System
  • Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Neuristics
  • Method and Apparatus for Displaying and Accessing Control and Status Information in a Computer System.
  • Support for Custom User-Interaction Elements in a Graphical, Event-Driven Computer System.

Rest assured, if Motorola loses it doesn’t mean your phone will be taken away; Motorola will have to either change how it’s doing things and/or pay Apple in what’s bound to be a large sum of settlement money.

 

Dashboard, that is. You’ve already seen the new Xbox 360 dashboard update right here and thousands of you have tried its flatter, faster interface for yourselves, but if you’ve missed out, it’s looking like your Halloween candy bag may include a full-scale rollout. Xbox Live subscribers are getting the above message in their inboxes right now, indicating that November 1st will bring a service update of some sort, after which point “You will notice a change to the layout of the Xbox LIVE Dashboard, a new color scheme, and new fonts being used.” That doesn’t necessarily sound like a cornucopia of Netflix Search, ESPN, Kinect and Zune Music to us, but it’s not like you have a choice — it’s mandatory, and you’ll lose all Xbox Live functionality unless you comply. We for one welcome our new gaming software overlords.Unlike some of the competition’s updates, these at least add functionality.

Can iPad competitors compete?

This week we found out the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab would be hitting Verizon for $599, with a $20/1GB month data plan, and the Windows 7-powered HP Slate, 10 months after Steve Balmer showed it off on the CES stage, will be available to Enterprise for $799. RIM has the BlackBerry PlayBook coming next year and HP the PalmPad in the pipeline as well.

The baseline iPad 3G is $629 with a $15/256MB month AT&T plan, the baseline Wi-Fi iPad + MiFi bundle on Verizon is likewise $630 with a $20/1GB month data plan (the Mi-Fi isn’t built in but can serve as a router for up to 5 devices). At that price, the iPad includes a 9.7-inch screen at 1024×768 , aluminum unibody, 1GHz A4 SoC, 256MB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 35,000 iPad and 300,000+ strong compatible App Store, the iTunes ecosystem, and a good, tablet optimized OS that’s about to become great with iOS 4.2 in November.

 

The Galaxy Pad boasts a 7-inch screen at 1024×600, 1GHz hummingbird SoC, 512MB of RAM, 16GB+ MicroSD storage, the Android Market (most apps are compatible if not optimized), and an OS that Google hasn’t yet optimized for tablets but Samsung has done a great job of embiggening all on their own. And it has cameras.

The HP Slate comes to the table with an 8.9 inch screen at 1024×600, 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB SSD,Windows 7 which means it can run Windows 7 applications, a stylus, a pull out tab with — we kid you not — a Windows barcode sticker, and a CTL-ALT-DEL hard button. And it also has cameras.

We don’t know BlackBerry PlayBook pricing yet, but the specs don’t look too far removed from the Galaxy Tab, albeit with a dual-core processor and the new QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS. Native apps will probably take a while to come but their supporting Flash and AIR out the gate so rich internet apps developed on that platform should be good to go.

There’s no information on the PalmPad yet, but it will run webOS which Palm aficionados say scales automagically but given the size differences between 3.1-inches and 7 or 9.7-inches we’re guessing they’ll have to right-size UI elements and probably re-conceptualize the UI in general to make use of all that extra space. (Twitter for iPhone would look really sparse at 9.7-inches which is probably why Twitter for iPad is very different, and the same goes for most apps).

Microsoft has said they’re sticking with Windows 7 for the tablet, which means we’re expecting Windows Phone 7, with its tiles and panoramas to make an appearance as soon as engineeringly possible — or at least we’re hoping.

Steve Jobs famously — or infamously depending on your point of view — said earlier this week that he doesn’t think competitors can match Apple’s price points. Apple uses the same guts — from A4 processor to battery chemistry to case machining to core OS development — across a huge range of products. That kind of internal coordination is unheard of in most other companies and those economies of scale very difficult to match. Jobs accused Samsung and RIM of using 7-inch screens (48% smaller surface area than iPad) in order to keep costs down. However, Samsung and RIM are adding cameras, ports, and other features simply not available in the first generation iPad, and some of them likely not coming to iPad 2 either. (Apple’s not adding a ton of ports any time soon, they’re moving further way from the power user and aiming squarely at the mainstream with iOS and OS X now.)

Will the Galaxy Tab and HP Slate sell 7 million+ in the first 6 months the way the iPad has? Probably not. The tablet market right now is an iPad market. But it doesn’t matter. More Android tablets are coming, and Google is working to make sure either the next version of Android, Gingerbread, or the version after that, Honeycomb, has full support for larger screens. BlackBerry is coming with its BES and BBM. HP is coming with Palm’s visionary webOS. And Microsoft just might be there too, eager to own a piece of the Tablet PC market they began and Bill Gates championed for many, many years.

And that’s not even counting netbooks, cheap laptops, or Apple’s own, newly announced 11-inch MacBook Air.

Steve Jobs might be right. Apple has a huge lead, incredible economies of scale, and the greatest product-savvy CEO in the history of the business. The market could end up like iPod, where Apple built such a lead it now enjoys 70% and everyone else fights for what’s left over. Will everyone who wants a tablet, as Georgia has suggested, already have bought an iPad? (Including some of ourfellow SPE editors and writers?) Or, given the stakes, is it more likely iPad could end up like the iPhone, where Apple winds up with a highly profitable slice of a gigantic pie, incredible mindshare, and competitors who hunt them, Cylon-like, every step of the way.

 

 

 

Apple shipped 20% more iPhones than RIM shipped Blackberrys during Q3 2010, according to Strategy Analytics. PC World got a look at the report and says:

With the shipments, Apple grabbed a 15.4 percent share of the market during the period, while RIM finished well behind with a 12.3 percent share. Top dog in the kennel, though, remains Nokia with 26.5 percent of the worldwide market.

With Apple adding global distribution channels all of the time, not mention the increased chances we might see a Verizon iPhone next year, could we soon be looking at even better numbers coming out of Cupertino? Could they ever overtake Nokia, the current top-dog in the mobile space?