News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | IoT and Embedded News Feed |    About   

T-Mobile revamps Sidekick as Samsung-built Android slider

Mar 15, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 25 views

T-Mobile unveiled a new version of its Sidekick messaging phone featuring Android 2.2 instead of the old “Danger” operating system. The Samsung-built T-Mobile Sidekick 4G offers a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, a 3.5-inch touchscreen, HSPA+ support, a front-facing video camera, and the Sidekick-signature pop-tilt hinge for its slide out, five-row QWERTY keyboard.

T-Mobile USA teamed with Samsung Mobile to bring back the T-Mobile Sidekick as an Android smartphone. It sports a 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.


Sidekick 4G, with group text feature shown on right

Instead of being based on the Danger operating system and data service — which was developed by Android creator Andy Rubin of Google but is now owned by Microsoft — the Sidekick 4G will run Android 2.2. The device is powered by a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, the chip found in Samsung's first generation of Galaxy S Android phones.

Sidekick 4G showing video chat (left) and social networking apps

The Sidekick 4G supports T-Mobile's "4G" HSPA+ network, capable of delivering potential peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps, says T-Mobile. The phone includes a VGA front-facing camera supported with T-Mobile Video Chat software 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, says the wireless provider. Few other hardware details were made available for the phone.

The Sidekick 4G wouldn't be a Sidekick without serious messaging capability, as evidenced by the five-row keyboard. The new device includes Sidekick Group Text and Cloud Text messaging applications.

Group Text lets users engage in group text conversations, says T-Mobile. Cloud Text is said to let users text with friends or groups, including communicating with PC users.

The Sidekick 4G comes with DriveSmart from T-Mobile, which notifies callers and senders a recipient is driving and will respond when it's safe, says T-Mobile. An available DriveSmart Plus app 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.

Preloaded apps are said to include Facebook and Twitter, 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, says T-Mobile. The smartphone will offer Google services, including Gmail, Google Maps, and Android Market access.

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 movies and TV programs from the Samsung Media Hub.

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 Sharp-manufactured Sidekick phones (pictured below).

Previous generation, Sharp-manufactured T-Mobile Sidekick
Source: CNET

Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced it was eliminating the Danger data service, essentially discontinuing its legacy Sidekick line. However, the company noted it would provide its current Sidekick customers with offers to "help make an easy transition from their existing Sidekick device to a new device." At the time, the carrier did not say the new device would retain the Sidekick brand or run Android.

Availability

Pricing and availability for the Samsung manufactured Sidekick 4G have yet to be announced, although T-Mobile says that its U.S. customers can expect to see the phone available in matte black or pearl magenta this spring. More information and notification sign-up may be found at T-Mobile's Sidekick 4G page.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



Comments are closed.