Will The Sidekick 4G Disappoint?

Let me preface this by saying I don’t want this to be about whether or not Android is good or bad, old or new or anything in between.  The question I wish to pose (among others) is whether or not Android is the right fit for the upcoming Sidekick 4G.  Along with that, will customers come back to the Sidekick brand when the last thing they remember about Sidekick is an overwhelming story regarding data loss?

The “Sidekick” line is, dare I say, an iconic brand in the wireless world.  It broke ground on any number of factors, most notably form factor.  While the Sidekick line didn’t start the spring loaded slide up screen, it certainly did its part to popularize it.  The Sidekick line was one of the only cellphone models to have personalized sponsors with the likes of Tony Hawk and Dwayne Wade.  This is a name that conjures up images of Paris Hilton walking down the red carpet and athletes pounding away on the Sidekick keyboard in anything from commercials to People magazine images.  There is a lot for T-Mobile to live up to with the release of the Sidekick 4G and I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

So let’s come right to the meat of this.  Why would it disappoint?  Well, I believe that Android, however you slice it, is a step in the opposite direction of its predecessor Sidekicks.  Part of the allure was the specialized OS that was unique to the Sidekick brand and made for a unique user experience.  This was part of the reason Sidekicks were so popular, because using them was a unique experience in almost every way.  While I will be the first to admit I don’t know anything about the form factor or the possible variations of Android we could see running on this device, it’s still Android and Android is everywhere. There is nothing really unique about Android at this point.  You can skin it, hack it and personalize it, but at the end of the day it’s still Android.  That’s not a bad thing; it’s just not a unique thing.  The same could be said if the Sidekick ran iOS, webOS or Windows Phone 7.  It still wouldn’t be unique.

The Sidekick will likely sell because it’s a name people remember and some will purchase simply because they have fond memories of the previous models.  On the flipside, the Sidekick brand took what some might have considered to be a death blow during the October 2009 data loss.  This led to T-Mobile halting sales and the eventual class action lawsuit which was only recently settled.  The Sidekick line took a serious hit in the public realm and even some of the most stringent Sidekick supporters moved on to other platforms.

As I look at the above image of the Sidekick 4G (which could EASILY be a placeholder and not at all what the actual device looks like) I see a typical looking slider.  A gain, I wonder and I  write this without all the facts given that almost no information on the phone is known.  However, I wonder how T-Mobile will differentiate this device?  Relying on the Sidekick name alone would have been great and almost marketed itself, but the last memory of many Sidekick users or  possible future users was a data loss that made national headlines.

So while any conclusion about the possibility of Sidekick 4G sales is premature, I still have reservations and tempered hopes about how successful it will truly be.  I hope, no, I wish for a revival in the Sidekick line because it was just so iconic for what it is, even if the form factor wasn’t your cup of tea.  A successful launch could be a huge win for T-Mobile and the Sidekick line overall, but anything else could lead to the final resting place for the Sidekick brand.  I hope I can speak for many Magenta faithful when I say we just don’t want it coming to that.

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  • Giannop

    Probably. Its not the same anymore.

  • Giannop

    Probably. Its not the same anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/Jakestavo Gus G

    Lol ofcourse this will Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the Motocliq, Motocliq 2, Behold 2.

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      You should really consider 3rd grade writing courses. Your capitalization is horrible. Out of the three devices you named, how many have you had the pleasure of using?

  • http://twitter.com/Jakestavo Gus G

    Lol ofcourse this will Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the Motocliq, Motocliq 2, Behold 2.

  • http://twitter.com/Jakestavo Gus G

    Lol ofcourse this will Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the Motocliq, Motocliq 2, Behold 2.

  • http://twitter.com/Jakestavo Gus G

    Lol ofcourse this will Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the Motocliq, Motocliq 2, Behold 2.

  • Brucefdavis

    It’s all about the simple, fast OS and the unique, flip-out screen. If TMO can “bridge the gap” between the old and new effectively, they’ll have a winner on their hands.

  • Brucefdavis

    It’s all about the simple, fast OS and the unique, flip-out screen. If TMO can “bridge the gap” between the old and new effectively, they’ll have a winner on their hands.

  • Brucefdavis

    It’s all about the simple, fast OS and the unique, flip-out screen. If TMO can “bridge the gap” between the old and new effectively, they’ll have a winner on their hands.

  • Anonymous

    it will have a 8mp camera with a front 1.3mp, 4 row qwerty keyboard, 4″ screen, 1.2ghz dual core processor, 1gb of ram, 16gb internal memory, microsd slot and android 2.3 :)

    • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

      I hope you’re right, lol

    • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

      I hope you’re right, lol

    • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

      I hope you’re right, lol

    • Phill

      If these are even remotely true, im in! I love the sidekicks. I dont think the pic is the sidekick..looks ALOT like my g2.

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      Don’t you feel stupid?!

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      Don’t you feel stupid?!

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      Don’t you feel stupid?!

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      Don’t you feel stupid?!

  • Anonymous

    it will have a 8mp camera with a front 1.3mp, 4 row qwerty keyboard, 4″ screen, 1.2ghz dual core processor, 1gb of ram, 16gb internal memory, microsd slot and android 2.3 :)

  • Anonymous

    it will have a 8mp camera with a front 1.3mp, 4 row qwerty keyboard, 4″ screen, 1.2ghz dual core processor, 1gb of ram, 16gb internal memory, microsd slot and android 2.3 :)

  • MBregar

    Lol ofcourse this wont Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the G1, G2, Nexus Series.

  • MBregar

    Lol ofcourse this wont Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the G1, G2, Nexus Series.

  • MBregar

    Lol ofcourse this wont Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the G1, G2, Nexus Series.

  • MBregar

    Lol ofcourse this wont Dissapoint it’s Tmobile, Home of the G1, G2, Nexus Series.

  • D3murf

    Interesting Angle! I do see T-MO sacrificing Uniqueness by employing a Homogeneous tactic. Is it really a Sidekick with that O/S? It takes more than Hardware to make a Sidekick. Running on name-sake alone, most definitely sets up this Device for Failure!!! Great Editorial my man..Follow me on twitter @ D3murf

  • D3murf

    Interesting Angle! I do see T-MO sacrificing Uniqueness by employing a Homogeneous tactic. Is it really a Sidekick with that O/S? It takes more than Hardware to make a Sidekick. Running on name-sake alone, most definitely sets up this Device for Failure!!! Great Editorial my man..Follow me on twitter @ D3murf

  • D3murf

    Interesting Angle! I do see T-MO sacrificing Uniqueness by employing a Homogeneous tactic. Is it really a Sidekick with that O/S? It takes more than Hardware to make a Sidekick. Running on name-sake alone, most definitely sets up this Device for Failure!!! Great Editorial my man..Follow me on twitter @ D3murf

  • http://twitter.com/itsmyjobtoknow Sydney Arnold

    This article is stupid, you don’t know what you’re talking about. :D just kidding :P

  • http://twitter.com/itsmyjobtoknow Sydney Arnold

    This article is stupid, you don’t know what you’re talking about. :D just kidding :P

    • mh946

      Stop trolling, you obviously behave like an 8 year old child.

    • mh946

      Stop trolling, you obviously behave like an 8 year old child.

    • Anonymous

      Replying to Sydney Arnold

      Yeah that was pretty rough even for a joke.

    • Anonymous

      Replying to Sydney Arnold

      Yeah that was pretty rough even for a joke.

    • Anonymous

      Replying to Sydney Arnold

      Yeah that was pretty rough even for a joke.

    • Anonymous

      Replying to Sydney Arnold

      Yeah that was pretty rough even for a joke.

    • http://twitter.com/MannyC_ Emanuel Cedeno

      lol doesn’t she work for phonedog…

    • http://twitter.com/MannyC_ Emanuel Cedeno

      lol doesn’t she work for phonedog…

    • http://twitter.com/MannyC_ Emanuel Cedeno

      lol doesn’t she work for phonedog…

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      I want to have dinner with you, then compare phones back at my place.

    • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

      I want to have dinner with you, then compare phones back at my place.

  • http://twitter.com/itsmyjobtoknow Sydney Arnold

    This article is stupid, you don’t know what you’re talking about. :D just kidding :P

  • http://twitter.com/dgrave10 Dale S

    Well, @Gus sure you just named motorola and samsung (aka the worst smartphone manufacturer, they ruined the Nexus series, the galaxy series has a great screen but…is just now getting to 2.2 when htc is working on 2.3) But your main contender or should I say if you want a decent phone is with HTC. G1, Nexus One, Mytouch 4g(solid phone by the way), G2, all great phones that have been rooted to allow greater enjoyment. So here is my two sense, if TMobile lets samsung ruin the sidekick, well then they will ruin it, and if it is a simple slider like the G1, well then they ruined it. But if they can keep the old design, the flip up screen, and let HTC handle the upgrades, push the same hardware as the mytouch 4g, well you have a contender for a little while.

  • http://twitter.com/dgrave10 Dale S

    Well, @Gus sure you just named motorola and samsung (aka the worst smartphone manufacturer, they ruined the Nexus series, the galaxy series has a great screen but…is just now getting to 2.2 when htc is working on 2.3) But your main contender or should I say if you want a decent phone is with HTC. G1, Nexus One, Mytouch 4g(solid phone by the way), G2, all great phones that have been rooted to allow greater enjoyment. So here is my two sense, if TMobile lets samsung ruin the sidekick, well then they will ruin it, and if it is a simple slider like the G1, well then they ruined it. But if they can keep the old design, the flip up screen, and let HTC handle the upgrades, push the same hardware as the mytouch 4g, well you have a contender for a little while.

  • http://twitter.com/dgrave10 Dale S

    Well, @Gus sure you just named motorola and samsung (aka the worst smartphone manufacturer, they ruined the Nexus series, the galaxy series has a great screen but…is just now getting to 2.2 when htc is working on 2.3) But your main contender or should I say if you want a decent phone is with HTC. G1, Nexus One, Mytouch 4g(solid phone by the way), G2, all great phones that have been rooted to allow greater enjoyment. So here is my two sense, if TMobile lets samsung ruin the sidekick, well then they will ruin it, and if it is a simple slider like the G1, well then they ruined it. But if they can keep the old design, the flip up screen, and let HTC handle the upgrades, push the same hardware as the mytouch 4g, well you have a contender for a little while.

  • Bruce

    T-Mobile is not trying to re-create the experience of using a Sidekick. They are just trying to make a few bucks off of a brand name that they own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511738923 Jeff Walenta

    the sidekick was a feature phone for the most part …it fit the time that it was in ….when it was popular there were smartphones of course …but no windows mobile phone could of ever been considered hip

    the feature phones time has passed….all thats left is a name and i don’t see them doing anything that could cause it to stand out in the way that sidkick originally did

    • hi!

      I disagree completely that it was a feature phone. In fact, it was really one of the first smart phones and with a $20 a month package for unlimited data and texts it made perfect sense to a lot of people. I would load up the net, check my calendar, then head back on the web…..AKA THIS THING HAD MULTITASKING in what 1997?!?!? It raised the bar beyond belief.

      Unfortunately I just think times have changed. After the data lost fiasco everyone left and went to blackberry’s or iPhones…..I don’t see anyone going back

      • Anonymous

        It was a reeeeally dumb Smartphone and a reeeeally smart Dumbphone.

      • Anonymous

        It was a reeeeally dumb Smartphone and a reeeeally smart Dumbphone.

      • J-Hop2o6

        Windows Mobile/Pocket PC was the first smartphone.

        • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

          “Sparked her interest.”… Really, brah?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511738923 Jeff Walenta

    the sidekick was a feature phone for the most part …it fit the time that it was in ….when it was popular there were smartphones of course …but no windows mobile phone could of ever been considered hip

    the feature phones time has passed….all thats left is a name and i don’t see them doing anything that could cause it to stand out in the way that sidkick originally did

  • Anonymous

    I think for sales sake they should try to make it like a MyTouch Slide with all the hardware features of the MyTouch 4G but with a Juvenile skinned version of Android 2.2 thats packed with Social Networking crApps and Video chat. Make it the baddest socially designed phone out and you will have a smash hit. With all those features and the Sidekick name on it then nobody will care what happened last decade.

    • J-Hop2o6

      Its coming with Android 2.3.. i have a feeling Tmo will use Espresso Sense on this since the phone will be made by HTC.. this will be like a top-of-the-line version of the myTouch [keyboard] series.. myTouch Slide is the mid-version.

      • Anonymous

        Where u see info on this thing? I musta missed it or forgot about it.

        • J-Hop2o6

          Ppl that went to the Tmo NYC Conference confirmed the 2.3 part.. HTC was rumored a long time ago.. and the image placeholder for the sidekick looks like a HTC device.. that wont be the final look, but its pointing towards HTC’s direction into manufacturing this.

        • Anonymous

          Right on.

        • Anonymous

          Right on.

        • Anonymous

          Right on.

        • Anonymous

          Right on.

        • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

          Wrong

        • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

          Ha Ha Ha, I love it when people act like they have ninjas of their own. I bet I could hustle you into buying a KIRF. “Well, it looks like a Samsung. Sure I’ll take it Mr. China man!” Read the new updates to confirm how wrong you were.

        • http://twitter.com/Pistol_Pat M. Patrick Ortiz

          Ha Ha Ha, I love it when people act like they have ninjas of their own. I bet I could hustle you into buying a KIRF. “Well, it looks like a Samsung. Sure I’ll take it Mr. China man!” Read the new updates to confirm how wrong you were.

      • Anonymous

        Where u see info on this thing? I musta missed it or forgot about it.

  • Anonymous

    I think for sales sake they should try to make it like a MyTouch Slide with all the hardware features of the MyTouch 4G but with a Juvenile skinned version of Android 2.2 thats packed with Social Networking crApps and Video chat. Make it the baddest socially designed phone out and you will have a smash hit. With all those features and the Sidekick name on it then nobody will care what happened last decade.

  • Anonymous

    Also they must sell it along with the options of $10 4g AND a discounted $20-25 data plan like the past versions enjoyed.

  • Anonymous

    Also they must sell it along with the options of $10 4g AND a discounted $20-25 data plan like the past versions enjoyed.

  • Anonymous

    Also they must sell it along with the options of $10 4g AND a discounted $20-25 data plan like the past versions enjoyed.

  • Anonymous

    Also they must sell it along with the options of $10 4g AND a discounted $20-25 data plan like the past versions enjoyed.

  • http://TheUnlockr.com TheUnlockr

    Now, you have some good points, but I think I have to add some “counter-points” :) David vs David, anyone?
    I agree that the Sidekick on Android, if done incorrectly, could be just another Android slider and ruin the once unique Sidekick line. But as you mentioned, the Sidekick was unique, not because it was the first slider or because of it’s form factor (although the flip out swivel screen was pretty sexy back in the day), but because of the software.
    I think this will all come down to Danger and whether they can make a good, simple, user interface to put on top of Android. You talk about the specialized OS that was unique to the Sidekick, right? Well, that specialized OS runs on Java. Guess what else runs on Java? Android. So why couldn’t Danger make a similar specialized user interface unique to the Sidekick and put it on Android? If you think about it, all they’d be doing now is creating a unique UI on top of Android which is running on top of their familiar Java. The addition of Android in between Java and their UI would give them a more supported, more robust mobile OS to base their UI on, leaving them time and money to focus on the user’s experience with the UI instead of all the little details.
    Again both of our arguments are based on an unreleased device, so who knows what it will look like or function like. But personally, I think, if they get the UI right, put in the patented swivel full QWERTY, market the crap out of it and put it in the hands of some new Disney stars, they’d have a good product for tweens and teens.

    • Coqui

      That’s all sounds good but there’s one major flaw, Danger is owned my MS and MS has basically killed off danger (if it isn’t 100% dead already) also seeing as MS has their own OS that’s competing against android i don’t see them working with danger anytime soon

  • DavidOhio

    I will not be getting this device. That being said, I view this device and an android device plain and simple. Sidekick 4G is just it’s name. If it is operating Android, it is an Android device, not a Sidekick. The Sidekick had it’s own unique OS that separated it from other data devices.

  • Er0c

    As you said in the article Android can be skinned and customized, they’ll probably design it to look like the Sidekick OS but just backed by Android. I don’t think this would be a flop, according to the specs given, it looks like a promising phone comparable to t-mobiles top phones!

    • Anonymous

      Specs?

    • Anonymous

      Specs?

  • Anonymous

    I was the owner of several Sidekick 3′s, and both LX’s. I believe at the Sidekicks peak it was more popular than the iPhone was/is at its peak. All iPhone fanboy/girls don’t get your panties twisted, I’m not saying it was better…just more popular. Back in the day when the sk3′s came out….EVERYONE had one. Well everyone 10-30 lol. Now I currently use the Mytouch slide, and is the first non-sidekick phone to stick with me past a month (shamefully I am a previous owner of the Cliq XT). What this sidekick needs to do, is stand out. I wholeheartedly agree, that one of the biggest turn-ons about the sk was its uniqueness…now that sk will be android, it lost that, so it needs to stand out somehow. I hate when people start stating specs, and that a phone needs the most amazing specs in the world to succeed because its simply not true. However with the bitter taste in peoples mouth with the sidekick outage, this phone needs to excel in specs to stand out. A good camera (even though sk’s always had horrible cameras)…MP does not matter, but a real good quality camera. 720P HD recording minimum. Android 2:3 minimum. It needs the classic sidekick flip keyboard. The way the old sk had the best AIM/MSN/Yahoo integration, this phone needs as well…with updated chat services (Facebook chat, GTalk, and Skype). A great battery life, and my personal preference would be a 5 row keyboard, a few quick keys, and a 4 inch or bigger screen. All this with great social integration, good marketing, and a nice design would make a great comeback for sidekicks.

    • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

      I can agree with this

    • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

      I can agree with this

    • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

      I can agree with this

  • Anonymous

    I was the owner of several Sidekick 3′s, and both LX’s. I believe at the Sidekicks peak it was more popular than the iPhone was/is at its peak. All iPhone fanboy/girls don’t get your panties twisted, I’m not saying it was better…just more popular. Back in the day when the sk3′s came out….EVERYONE had one. Well everyone 10-30 lol. Now I currently use the Mytouch slide, and is the first non-sidekick phone to stick with me past a month (shamefully I am a previous owner of the Cliq XT). What this sidekick needs to do, is stand out. I wholeheartedly agree, that one of the biggest turn-ons about the sk was its uniqueness…now that sk will be android, it lost that, so it needs to stand out somehow. I hate when people start stating specs, and that a phone needs the most amazing specs in the world to succeed because its simply not true. However with the bitter taste in peoples mouth with the sidekick outage, this phone needs to excel in specs to stand out. A good camera (even though sk’s always had horrible cameras)…MP does not matter, but a real good quality camera. 720P HD recording minimum. Android 2:3 minimum. It needs the classic sidekick flip keyboard. The way the old sk had the best AIM/MSN/Yahoo integration, this phone needs as well…with updated chat services (Facebook chat, GTalk, and Skype). A great battery life, and my personal preference would be a 5 row keyboard, a few quick keys, and a 4 inch or bigger screen. All this with great social integration, good marketing, and a nice design would make a great comeback for sidekicks.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the previous rumors on the Sidekick 4G/Sidekick Twist include a new, exclusive, “Feature set” that runs on top of android. Perhaps T-Mobile’s version of MotoBlur with a strong Sidekick-ish flair to it that will be exclusive to these Android Sidekick models. I hope the pic is only a placeholder cuz it not only looks like a plain slider, but 1 with a 3-row Qwerty!! We all know it is not a Sidekick without a 5-row off-set keyboard (Honeycomb-style like PC Keyboards, not Checked-style like many slider phones)

  • Anonymous

    Some of the previous rumors on the Sidekick 4G/Sidekick Twist include a new, exclusive, “Feature set” that runs on top of android. Perhaps T-Mobile’s version of MotoBlur with a strong Sidekick-ish flair to it that will be exclusive to these Android Sidekick models. I hope the pic is only a placeholder cuz it not only looks like a plain slider, but 1 with a 3-row Qwerty!! We all know it is not a Sidekick without a 5-row off-set keyboard (Honeycomb-style like PC Keyboards, not Checked-style like many slider phones)

  • phonegeek

    lets just see what its about after the specs an physical video come out

  • phonegeek

    lets just see what its about after the specs an physical video come out

  • Nestoavila

    I agree on every level… I owned a sidekick 3, lx, 08, and a lx09….and I feel like a sidekick was a sidekick and having its on OS made it special. And especially its form factor. And if T-Mo is going to bring back as slide with android its not going to be a true sidekick. Unless its heavily skinned. But then when you heavily skin android it becomes slow laggy and buggy. Look at the cliq xt motorola’s blur is horrible and being a true sidekick fan I don’t want the sidekick to suffer the same fate as the behold 2 and cliq xt

  • Nestoavila

    I agree on every level… I owned a sidekick 3, lx, 08, and a lx09….and I feel like a sidekick was a sidekick and having its on OS made it special. And especially its form factor. And if T-Mo is going to bring back as slide with android its not going to be a true sidekick. Unless its heavily skinned. But then when you heavily skin android it becomes slow laggy and buggy. Look at the cliq xt motorola’s blur is horrible and being a true sidekick fan I don’t want the sidekick to suffer the same fate as the behold 2 and cliq xt

  • sidekickninja

    The sidekick keyboard is the best keyboard I ever used, the buttons were big enough for my fingers not like the small buttons the phones have now. I would get it, I own a 3G slide but if it had the keyboard my lx 09 had I would be in heaven right now. They brought it back I would maybe buy it, just afraid of the backing of it.

  • sidekickninja

    The sidekick keyboard is the best keyboard I ever used, the buttons were big enough for my fingers not like the small buttons the phones have now. I would get it, I own a 3G slide but if it had the keyboard my lx 09 had I would be in heaven right now. They brought it back I would maybe buy it, just afraid of the backing of it.

  • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

    Good points, although I really am rooting for T-Mobile to have a win on its hands with it.

  • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

    Good points, although I really am rooting for T-Mobile to have a win on its hands with it.

  • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

    Good points, although I really am rooting for T-Mobile to have a win on its hands with it.