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Summary:

What do all-star shortstop Derek Jeter, skateboarding lord Tony Hawk, and Tinseltown’s hard drinking, starlet-of-the-moment, Lindsey Lohan, have in common? Turns out they’re all big fans of the Danger Hiptop, also known as the T-Mobile Sidekick. Well, now the folks at T-Mobile are hoping to attract […]

SidekickIIWhat do all-star shortstop Derek Jeter, skateboarding lord Tony Hawk, and Tinseltown’s hard drinking, starlet-of-the-moment, Lindsey Lohan, have in common? Turns out they’re all big fans of the Danger Hiptop, also known as the T-Mobile Sidekick. Well, now the folks at T-Mobile are hoping to attract a new group of A-listers with their newest release, the Sidekick II. Designed by Danger and built by Japanese electronics giant Sharp, the newest Sidekick is a slick update of a device that won many a design award…even if it wasn’t the best functioning phone out there.

Let’s start with the updates. The Sidekick II, which will be available “in early fall” on the T-Mobile network according to Danger CEO Hank Nothaft, is about 25 percent smaller than its predecessor, while retaining most of the original design elements such as the swivel screen. Some of the most frequent complaints about the original – namely, that many of the controls, such as the volume control were behind the flip screen and only useable if the screen was swiveled out – have been fixed. Page up/down buttons have been added to facilitate web-browsing (though the scroll wheel will work too), and there are two additional, programmable buttons to allow easy access to applications such as email. The latest Sidekick also sports an integrated VGA camera, perfect for snapping shots of celebrities in compromising positions and such.

But, perhaps the biggest problem with the Sidekick remains, for the immediate future: The lack of a vibrant ecosystem of applications, such as the ones that have sprung up around Palm and PocketPC devices. While Danger does have a SDK available, and are compatible with Java, they are not yet compliant so the platform is still, for all intents and purposes, closed. Nothaft says the issue is being addressed and that the problem will be solved soon. Stay tuned. In terms of other updates, Danger says an EDGE-compliant device and built-in Bluetooth are additional options being considered for future devices. The company also plans to release a tri-band device that will work in the 850MHz band as well.

In short, the new Sidekick is a promising device, and one that’s bound to sell well. Sharp, in both Europe and Japan, has proven its ability to make quality devices, so that partnership should be a lucrative one for Danger. And if they can just break out of their walled-garden application environment, and let folks start pushing the limits and creating new apps for the Sidekick, the future looks even brighter.

Guest column by Matt Maier, wireless and gizmos writer for Business 2.0

Carrier: T-Mobile // Price: $299 // Tri-Band GSM/GPRS (1900/1800/900)

  1. HI, I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH SIDEKICK II, WHY? FONTS ARE TOO SMALL!!!! BLACKBERRY HAVE DIFFERENT SIZES OF FONTS! WHY AREN’T SIDEKICK II INCLUDED? SO MANY OF MY DEAF FREINDS DEPEND ON FONT SIZE TO MUCH BIGGER THAN WHAT SIDEKICK OFFERED. EVEN THOUGH I OWNED COLOR SIDEKICK. I WASTED MY HIGH HOPE FOR FONTS SIZE ON SIDEKICK II…
    SCOTT

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  2. although this cap-locked, hopefully non-fluent english speaking, aol user did bring up a small issue: no changing the font size, i have used one and the font size is fine for anyone who isn’t………deaf.

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  3. The biggest problem I have with my sidekick is the reception I can hardly get a signal anywhere it takes forever for the internet to load and after making a phone call my signal is completly gone I hope the the sidekick 2 will have way better reception

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  4. michael baker Sunday, August 15, 2004

    Umm… I currently own a sk 1. The reception always disconnects so I can’t talk to my friends rite away. And I can’t log into aol or msn. Yahoo is the only theing I can log on. Everything else is ok w/ me. I only have 1 question…. Where and how can I get sk II and at a low price???

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  5. I have/had numerous problems with my sideport where the camera attachment/earpiece goes [the camera is built in] so I hope the earpiece situation was updated I will be in line for skII p.s. Does any1 know the correct release date?

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  6. Hello, I like to know that the Sidekick II is better than the old ones because I get the feeling that the previous sidekick breaks down alot and disconnects alot, but the designer may change all that to a possible better, reliable technology, if I’m correct.. So I would like to know when will it come out and How much would it costs, also I would like it if you can offer me a lowest price at possible it can.. thanks, Matthew

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  7. hi,

    i would like to know if there is going to be any rebates involved when to phone is available for purchase. and if so hjow much would it be. i am with the company sprint wireless, and would like to know if it worth the change to t-mobile for the sidekick II.

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  8. I have had 3 sidekick … 1 stolen, one my own doing I dropped it and the other is the swivel started to come loose from use. I hope that it will be a little more sturdy than the other ones and I hope that they have fixed the Java problem.

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  9. So heres my thing . . . is it true that T-Mobile will have an ugrade program for people to go from SK1 to SK2 at a lower price?!

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  10. Where can i get a SKII RIGHT NOW? if anyone knows.. HOLLA AT ME!

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