America Online is going to stop offering wireless service for its Mobile Communicator on August 1. Instead, the company recommends that users switch to the T-Mobile Sidekick.
The AOL Mobile Communicator debuted in November of 2000. It offers access to AOL email and instant messenging. However, because it cost $330, many criticised the device for being too expensive for the consumer market. It was designed by Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry line of wireless handhelds.
AOL isn’t going to leave Mobile Communicator customers high and dry. Starting Monday, the company is offering $100 off the price of a new color T-Mobile Sidekick, bringing the cost to $200. Like the Mobile Communicator, the Sidekick offers access to AOL email and IM. In addition, it has a Web browser and a mobile phone. The Sidekick is a re-branded version of the hiptop, which was created by Danger Inc.
T-Mobile has recently added a Data-Only plan for $30 with an additional 20 cents per minute for voice. Or people can sign up for any T-Mobile voice plan and get unlimited data for an additional $20 a month.
The Sidekick isn’t the only option as a replacement. Many smartphones and wireless handhelds can also access AOL email and have an AIM client.