Call me a nerd, or call me nostalgic — but I loved the Sidekick series. Though that love fizzled over time (partially due to hardware issues in the later Sidekicks, partially due to the fact that smartphone prices plummeted while their user-friendliness skyrocketed), the first three Sidekicks are still some of my favorite devices ever.
Today, just two weeks after T-Mobile and Microsoft announced that they’re pulling the plug on the old Sidekick cloud servers, T-Mobile is officially unveiling something they (and I) hope can bring life back to the Sidekick series: the Android-powered, Samsung-made Sidekick 4G.
From pictures of the hardware, it looks like Samsung has kept most of the things that Sidekick fan know and love. The overall shape remains unchanged, and it still packs a roomy-lookin’ 5 row key (which I’m really, really hoping is on par with Sidekicks prior). Alas, there is at least a change or two that the more devout fans might not like: the handset’s signature (and oh-so-awesome) display spin-out has been replaced with something they’re calling a “pop-tilt” hinge (we’ve confirmed that this display slides, rather than spins), and the physical trackball has been replaced with an optical trackball.
Here’s what you need to know:
- 1 Ghz Samsung Hummingbird CPU
- 3.5 inch touchscreen display (First Sidekick with a touchscreen!)
- “Group Text” app (Seems to just be a “Reply All” type thing, rather than a managed Group Texting app a la Beluga or GroupMe)
- “Cloud Text” app (Which they say “provides the option to text with friends and groups across platforms, from wherever a customer is, whether from the comfort of their PC’s large screen and keyboard, or from their new Sidekick 4G”)
- “Sidekick Media Room” app provides access to Youtube, Slacker, T-Mobile TV, and any audio/video that might be on the handset
- Comes pre-loaded with Facebook and Twitter
- Dedicated Jump key for jumping between active applications (It’s not quite clear how this works, but it sounds like it’s more than what simply holding the Home key usually provides.
We’ll be checking this thing out at CTIA Orlando (March 21-23) in just a few days — check back in then for our hands on impressions! In the mean time: what do you think? Is this a worthy revival of the Sidekick line?