On July 2 T-Mobile halted sales of the Sharp-produced, Danger-powered Sidekick. On May 31 they pulled the plug on the Danger Service, effectively shutting down data services for the fliptastic handset. Today they made good on their promise that the “storied Sidekick franchise” would continue with the introduction of the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G. The “new and fresh experience” they hinted at has been detailed today in a press release straight from the carrier. Though the new Sidekick holds on to that long-lasting brand and shares similar looks to its predecessors, things have changed considerably. The Sidekick 4G is manufactured by Samsung and it runs Android 2.2. It’s the first Sidekick to have a touchscreen which measures 3.5-inch (WVGA). A sturdy “pop-tilt” hinge reveals a five-row QWERTY keyboard that Sidekick owners should be well adjusted to by now. The device is powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor and packs a back-facing 3 megapixel camera and a front-facing VGA camera for video chatting. T-Mobile Video Chat powered by Qik is preinstalled to enable that function. Speaking of preloaded items, the Sidekick will also come loaded with Facebook and Twitter apps, YouTube, T-Mobile TV, Slacker Radio, and Samsung Media Hub; that hub allows customers to rent or purchase movies and TV shows from CBS, Fox, MTV Networks, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. T-Mobile has also included two Sidekick-specific messaging features called Group Text and Cloud Text. The former lets customers create, name, manage and participate in reply-all group text conversations; the latter allows customers to text with friends or groups across platforms (i.e. using a PC or smartphone). Lastly, T-Mobile’s DriveSmart service helps prevent distracted driving by automatically informing incoming callers and text messages that the Sidekick user is driving and will respond at a later time.
The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G, which takes advantage of T-Mo’s “4G” HSPA+ data speeds (download speeds of up to 21 Mbps), will be available in matte black and pearl magenta when it goes on sale “later this spring.” Exact release date and pricing has not been disclosed yet. Long live the Sidekick!
Update: Along with the PR you’ll also find a brief video demonstration of the “killer messaging device” after the break.
New Sidekick 4G is a Lightning-Fast and Stylish Communication Hub, Delivering Evolved Messaging and Entertainment at 4G Speeds
BELLEVUE, Wash., and DALLAS – March 15, 2011 – T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S.,1 today unveiled the new T-Mobile Sidekick® 4GTM by Samsung. The new AndroidTM-powered smartphone pays tribute to its heritage with its stylish good looks and a killer keyboard while redefining messaging and upgrading to 4G speeds. One of T-Mobile’s fastest smartphones running on America’s Largest 4G NetworkTM, the new Sidekick 4G is capable of delivering theoretical peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps.
The T-Mobile Sidekick has long been known for its innovative and distinctive design, and the Sidekick 4G does not disappoint. The 3.5-inch display marks the first Sidekick to feature a touch screen and its sturdy “pop-tilt” hinge reveals the previously acclaimed, five-row QWERTY keyboard that has long been a Sidekick hallmark and the reason behind its status as an exceptional messaging device.
The new Sidekick 4G leverages its quality keyboard along with Sidekick Group TextTM and Cloud TextTM to redefine messaging. Sidekick’s Group Text feature lets customers create, name, manage and participate in reply-all group text conversations, enabling them to lead their network in conversation and social planning. Group Text breathes new life into one of the most popular forms of messaging allowing Sidekick 4G customers to initiate and share the benefit of the application with SMS-capable devices from flip phones to smartphones. In addition, Cloud Text provides the option to text with friends or groups across platforms, whether from the comfort of their PC’s large screen and keyboard, or from their new Sidekick 4G.
“Backed by the faster speeds on T-Mobile’s 4G network, the new Sidekick 4G offers customers both speed and style,” said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president, product management, T-Mobile USA. “We’ve reinvented the messaging experience that made the Sidekick such an iconic device, and supercharged it with communication and entertainment experiences that take full advantage of our 4G network.”
Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile, said, “We are proud that T-Mobile selected Samsung to help create the next-generation Sidekick and carry the iconic Sidekick brand and device to the next level. Samsung redesigned the new Sidekick 4G with our best-in-class hardware, combined with T-Mobile’s 4G network speeds, the Android operating system, and unique messaging and entertainment features, to make this a perfect match for both loyal Sidekick fans and new Sidekick owners.”
The new Sidekick 4G also comes preloaded with Facebook® and TwitterTM applications, and provides easy interaction with customers’ social networks by allowing them to update their status from the notification pane and browse their feeds from the home screen. They have the ability to sync their social network contacts to the phone’s address book, which lets them post to their friends’ walls or comment on their status. And multitasking is easier than ever with the Sidekick 4G’s jump key, an easy-to-access physical button that enables customers to quickly switch between active applications, even during a phone call, or assign keyboard shortcuts to their favorite functions or applications.
In addition to a communication hub, the new Sidekick 4G is now an entertainment hub. With speeds as fast as home broadband, enjoying a favorite TV show or surfing the Web on the go is a breeze. Sidekick’s Media Room features one place to enjoy music, videos, movies, YouTube®, T-Mobile TV® and Slacker Radio, and to search for content regardless of the source. The integrated media player, also accessible through the Media Room, spans across all media including music, video and Internet radio. Customers also have the option to rent or purchase their favorite movies and TV programs directly from the Samsung Media Hub, which offers a robust collection of movie and next-day TV show titles from CBS, Fox, MTV Networks, NBC Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. Customers now have the option to place Media Hub charges directly to their monthly T-Mobile service bill.
Complementing the messaging communication features, the new Sidekick 4G is equipped with a VGA front-facing camera and pre-installed T-Mobile Video Chat powered by QikTM, to ensure you are always present with your social circle. Powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo) and a speedy 1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, so consumers can keep up with their favorite blogs while on the move, search for the must-try dinner spots and map the way to their next destination – all at blazing fast speeds. The new smartphone will also offer dynamic media features and integrated GoogleTM services, including GmailTM, Google MapsTM and access to thousands of applications on Android MarketTM.
The new Sidekick 4G also comes equipped with DriveSmartTM from T-Mobile, a first-of-its kind service from a U.S. carrier, that helps prevent distracted driving. When initiated, DriveSmart Basic provides automatic incoming call and message management, sending a customizable note to callers and senders, letting them know that the recipient is driving and will respond when it’s safe. DriveSmart Plus offers the same functionality, with the added capability to automatically activate when the handset is in a moving vehicle, as well as advanced parental controls for enhanced peace of mind when teen drivers are behind the wheel.
Offered exclusively to T-Mobile customers, the new T-Mobile Sidekick 4G is expected to be available later this spring in two stylish colors – matte black or pearl magenta. Customers can visit http://sidekick.t-mobile.com/ for more information.