Danger, who makes the Sidekick, a young-adult version of the BlackBerry, is looking to grow by adding new hardware partners, entering global markets and possibly even offering an IPO by the end of next year. This niche player wants to be much more; and with the third version of their hardware due out soon, the Sidekick III, they might just pull that plan off.
Danger never really wanted to be in the hardware business, so they outsourced to Sharp last year. They’re about to announce a new partnership to create devices, likely their new Sidekick III. The Sidekick III has been rumored to be a Windows Mobile device, complete with forged pictures. We know the rumors are false, but aside from a launch in the first part of 2006, we know little else about Danger’s plans for a new Smartphone.
Even with the first Sidekick, Danger was able to reach out to a younger audience who like the functionality of a BalckBerry, but weren’t interested in an enterprise device. Much more consumer oriented, more specifically, teen and 20-something oriented, Danger has excelled at creating hardware designs that are extremely functional. Many even include the Danger QWERTY keyboard in discussions of the best integrated keyboard design in a PDA. They’re even creating fun casings too, as evidenced by the latest Juicy Couture and Mr. Cartoon models.
Juicy Couture and Mr. Cartoon models
What they have in design and creativity, they lack in mainstream software. The device runs on a proprietary operating system, which is one of the reasons the Windows Mobile rumors are so fun. A device like this with an operating system that could support thousands of software titles would be great. The down side of course comes back to component requirements and the dreaded price issue. The Sidekick II is aggressively priced, making it one of the cheapest Smartphones on the market.
With the PDA market shifting more toward converged devices, it’s important to remember some of these smaller players that can have a significant impact on the market. Hopefully we’ll see more growth from Danger as they spread into new markets and more importantly, new devices.