T-Mobile USA will stop selling the Sidekick tomorrow, ceremoniously ending the era in which celebrities and teenagers alike feverishly sought after one of the first consumer devices built for texting.
Many mourned the death of the Sidekick today, like the Kin yesterday, but the similarity ends at the fact that they are both owned by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). The Sidekick was a device built on the Danger platform, which Microsoft bought and has since placed on the back burner. However, the brand is owned by T-Mobile.
To that end, expect the carrier to keep the franchise alive and well, and to attempt to duplicate it on Google’s Android operating system. “Stay tuned for exciting updates in the months ahead, which we expect will provide customers with a new and fresh experience,” T-Mobile said in a statement today.
The fourth-largest carrier did not say how it would be resurrecting the brand. However, it’s pretty obvious. In addition to hearing from some T-Mobile insiders say that they’ve been working on an Android device for some time, T-Mobile continues its enthusiasm for the platform. It was the first carrier in the world to launch an Android phone, and now it employs a small software team that creates custom applications for their own device line-up, including the T-Mobile myTouch Slide. Besides, if it wanted to continue working with the Microsoft (and the ex-Danger) team, it would have agreed to sell the Kin. In almost two different ways, Microsoft is losing on this deal.
In many ways, the Sidekick was before its time. Before wireless data was being used by the masses, Sidekick owners could browse the web, connect to social networks, and text like a fiend on a full Qwerty keyboard that was typically reserved for corporate BlackBerry users. It also relied on cloud services, syncing users contacts, photos and other data to the internet. In its heyday, the device was hyped by celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, and T-Mobile held star-studded parties in New York and Los Angeles whenever a new phone was coming out. More recently, the phone became outdated — when it took forever to put out a 3G version — and its reputation was tarnished when Microsoft lost users’ data in the cloud.
T-Mobile said starting tomorrow the Sidekick LX and Sidekick 2008 will no longer be available in stores or online, but that it will continue to provide Sidekick customers with service and support.