T-Mobile USA, the wireless service provider, is now offering the Sidekick, a wireless device aimed at consumers. It offers Web surfing, email, instant messenging, and a mobile phone. In addition, it has a calendar, address book, and to do list.
It uses T-Mobile’s GSM/GPRS networks, allowing it to access the Internet at up to 144 kbps, under ideal conditions.
The Sidekick’s Web browser depends on a proxy server which reformats pages to fit the small screen. The instant messenging client is America Online’s AIM. The Sidekick’s operating system is multi-tasking, allowing users to both surf the Web and do instant messenging at the same time.
The PIM applications can be synchronized with an online service but not with programs on a PC. Contact and scheduling info can be exported from the desktop apps and uploaded to the online service but this isn’t automatic and the data only goes one way.
The Sidekick has a 12-voice MIDI synthesizer that can simulate drums, strings and other musical instruments. Users can download ringtones and even assign ringtones to specific people in their address books.
All of this comes at a price T-Mobile hopes will be appealing to consumers: $200 for the Hiptop itself after a $50 rebate, then $40 a month for unlimited data, 200 voice minutes, and 1,000 weekend minutes. It has free long distance.
According to the company, it can be used as a mobile phone for 3 hours of continuous use and 60 hours of standby time.
The company is also including a free digital camera that can be attached to the Hiptop. Images can then be emailed through the device.
The Sidekick is actually a rebranded version of the Hiptop from Danger Inc.. The company is in negotiations to have Orange S.A. offer the Hiptop to European consumers in 2003. Orange S.A. is the second largest wireless operator in Europe.