With all of the hoopla going on today regarding the imminent release of the 2nd generation Apple iPad, there is another story about a smartphone that is being thrown out into the trash heap of history. This is the T-Mobile Sidekick. And although the Sidekick phone itself was discontinued in July, 2010, it was just announced that the entire cloud system that runs the Sidekick will be turned off on May 31st. That means that anyone who is still using one will lose all of their functionality after that date with the exception of basic calling and text messaging features. This closure also means the end of the Sidekick catalog where users could download apps for their phones similar to what you see on the iPhone and Android app stores.
This is interesting news coming from T-Mobile. Even though they did pull the Sidekicks from their stores last year, they did just announce in mid January that a new Sidekick would be unveiled in 2011 on the Android platform. It would be souped up and have a faster HSPA+ data access at up to 84 Mbits/sec. T-Mobile even had a name for it – the Sidekick 4G. Why was T-Mobile even revamping a phone that got its start way back in 2002 and has seen much better days? Well, because the maker of the Sidekick phone, Danger, was co-founded by the Google Android guru, Andy Rubin. So, with that history, and the fact that Android has really caught on in the smartphone market, the whole deal came full circle and started to make sense.
Although I personally never see anyone walking around with a Sidekick anymore, they did have some of the best user interfaces back in the 2004-2005 era when most other feature phones had clunky and confusing interfaces. But the old saying is true that you can never sit on your laurels. The Sidekick wasn’t quick enough to start integrating the 3G or GPS features that other smart phone manufacturers began introducing in 2007. In fact, it wasn’t until 2009 when the Sidekick LX came along that they finally caught up. But it was too late by then. The iPhone and its knockoffs had already changed the mobile market by then. The rest of course, is history.
T-Mobile has said that they are working out a way for their current Sidekick users a transition plan to port over their service to another phone without losing all of their information.