Maybe it should have been named Pumpkin Spice given the timing, but the Android 2.3 update, aka Gingerbread, has been rolling out successfully to HTC Thunderbolt owners over the last several days. I left my own Thunderbolt on overnight, and woke up pleasantly surprised to see the OS update installed and running smoothly.
Some of the immediately noticeable differences in the latest software release (2.11.605.5) include updated icons, a new Quick Settings tab, and a favorites section with frequently-used apps. The Quick Settings tab is useful because it provides shortcuts for turning on and off Wi-Fi, mobile data, GPS, etc. Not that you can’t bookmark these functions anyway, but it makes sense to have them readily available from the get-go. The icon updates are generally nice, and the favorites section is a helpful alternative to scrolling through pages of apps on a regular basis.
Digging a little deeper, the latest software build also adds a few new apps to the 4G smartphone, including Google Books and a desktop mode app. I hit up Google Books for a free excerpt of the Steve Jobs biography, but given my Kindle account, I doubt I’ll make any further use of the Google software. The desk mode app, meanwhile, only works with the official HTC hardware dock, but it’s making me think that a dock purchase (or gift request) might be worth re-evaluating. The landscape view offers time and temperature, a stream of friend updates, and three icons for photos, music, and calendar access.
The other biggie in this release is a security update. When HTC first started sending out its Gingerbread upgrade, there was a major security hole in place that allowed apps to access a slew of tracking information. That issue’s reportedly been fixed, and HTC says it’s improved Bluetooth security as well. Continue Reading…