T-Mobile March 15 unveiled its T-Mobile Sidekick 4G, an Android 2.2 smartphone sporting a 3.5-inch display and a QWERTY keyboard. Availability is this spring.
T-Mobile USA teamed with Samsung Mobile to bring back the
T-Mobile Sidekick, an Android smartphone sporting a 3.5-inch display and a QWERTY
keyboard on the signature pop-tilt hinge for which the Sidekick brand was famous.
While the original Sidekick lacked a touchscreen, the dual-input
modes of the Sidekick 4G handset are designed to appease
the majority of consumers looking to access their device by touch and type.
However, instead of being based on the Danger operating system and data service owned by Microsoft, the new Sidekick
will run Android 2.2 and be powered by a 1GHz processor on T-Mobile's 4G network, capable of
delivering potential peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps.
The Sidekick 4G wouldn't be a Sidekick without serious
messaging capability, as evidenced by the 5-row keyboard.
The new device
includes Sidekick Group Text and Cloud Text messaging applications.
Group Text lets users engage in group text conversations. Cloud Text
users text with friends or groups across PCs and the Sidekick 4G.
The Sidekick 4G includes a VGA front-facing camera and
T-Mobile Video Chat powered by Qik. The Sidekick 4G also features a physical
jump key that lets customers switch between live apps during a phone call, or
assign keyboard shortcuts.
True to most Android devices, the smartphone will also be
integrated with Google services, including Gmail and Google Maps and Android
The Sidekick 4G comes with DriveSmart from T-Mobile,
which notifies callers and senders the recipient is driving and will respond
when it's safe. DriveSmart Plus offers the same functionality, though it
automatically activates when the handset is in a moving vehicle, and features
parental controls for when teen drivers are behind the wheel.
The new Sidekick 4G is preloaded with Facebook and
Twitter applications, with users able to update their status from the
notification pane and browse their feeds from the home screen. Users may also sync
their social network contacts to the phone's address book.
Sidekick 4G also boasts a "media room," a
one-stop destination for music, videos, movies, YouTube, T-Mobile TV and
Slacker Radio. Customers may rent or purchase their movies and TV programs from
the Samsung Media Hub.
The device's pricing and availability have yet to be
announced, though T-Mobile said U.S. can expect it in matte black or pearl
magenta this spring.
The Sidekick brand is looking to recover after taking some hits in
October 2009 when hardware issue on servers run by Microsoft subsidiary
Danger wiped the personal data from nearly 800,000 Sidekick users' phones.