360 Dashboard update in a week?

Xbox Live's Major Nelson discussed in his latest podcast that he has been playing around with the upcoming Xbox 360 Wireless Communicator on his development kit, which of course has "excellent" sound quality. Be sure and listen to the entire podcast. Near the end "e" from Microsoft gets a jab in on the PS3 by way of an article he read here on Joystiq.

However, Major Nelson goes on to say that "even if you went to the store today and bought it, you couldn't use it until you have the fall upgrade to the dashboard." This is an extremely interesting little tidbit, because every online retail site that lists this for sale has a release date of October 31st -- which is also a Tuesday, the day new retail items are typically released.

So, does this mean that the dashboard update is less than a week away? It is entirely possible that Microsoft could change the release date for the communicator to whenever they wish, but with two major consoles launching less than three weeks after the 31st it seems doubtful that they'd want to do that. What's more likely is that the fall dashboard update will probably appear sometime before the 31st, or possibly even that day. Microsoft is going to want to have every oar in the water pulling for the finish line through the rest of the year, and not dropping updates after the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii launches.

Our prediction is -- drumroll please -- big dashboard update early next week. Mark your calendars ... in pencil.

[Thanks, Josh and Thomas]

Listen -- Major Nelson's "Show #199: The one about Gears and the maintenance" (around 1:16:30 in)