Despite Hype, No Sign of Hiptop

Danger Inc. once again delayed the release of its long-awaited Hiptop wireless device.

Danger Inc. on Tuesday announced several partnerships with application developers, but also said that its long-awaited Hiptop wireless device will be delayed once again.

The Palo Alto, Calif., startup has delayed the launch several times. Initially the company planned to launch the phone/PDA/pager combo device at the end of 2001. But in February 2002, the vice president of marketing said, "We feel pretty good about late spring." And in late spring, officials said the launch would be in the summer. Now officials say the device will launch in the fall.

T-Mobile (previously VoiceStream Wireless) will be the first company to offer the device in the United States, under the brand name Sidekick.

Danger announced on Tuesday that Orange S.A. of the UK plans to offer the device next year.

The company also reported several partnerships with various third-party developers to build games, entertainment portals and instant messaging applications.

Pumatech Inc. plans to offer synchronization software for the Hiptop. Seven Networks Inc. has plans to develop an application that enables access to various enterprise applications, although Danger executives have said in the past that the Hiptop was designed with consumers in mind.

Danger announced the Hiptop and the companion backend services last September at the DemoMobile trade show in La Jolla, Calif.

At the time the Hiptop was announced the main competition was Research in Motions Blackberry e-mail pager. Since then, though, several more competitors have popped up. For instance, Handspring Inc. has started shipping the Treo device, which has functions similar to that of the Hiptop.

Handspring plans to launch a new Treo device, the Treo 300, this month. It will run on Sprint PCS Groups long-awaited nationwide 3G network, which is being rolled out this Thursday, according to industry sources.

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