Many of you have probably heard of the Danger Hiptop, also known as the T-Mobile Sidekick. The Sidekick is a GPRS/EDGE/UMTS smartphone produced by Danger Incorporated from 2002 to 2010.The Hiptop 2, 3, Sidekick iD, Sidekick 2008 and Sidekick LX were are all manufactured by Sharp Corporation in Japan and designed by Danger. All versions of the Hiptop were developed in close partnership with T-Mobile, and since the release of the original T-Mobile Sidekick we have seen many new Sidekicks released, along with different partnerships. Danger provides the Hiptop OS software and services for the Sidekick. These include a list of downloadable software applications, email hosting, and instant messaging. The Hiptop was sold by T-Mobile in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Austria.
T-Mobile Sidekick (Danger/Flextronics)
Released on October 1, 2002, the original T-Mobile Sidekick was unique compared to other phones at the time. All the Sidekicks had featured “Menu”, “Back”, “Jump” and other keys accessible even when the phone was closed. The T-Mobile Sidekick also featured a speaker which was used for device sounds. The headset jack served a dual purpose, as it was also used for the accessory camera. The screen on the T-Mobile Sidekick was a monochrome LCD.
T-Mobile Sidekick 2 (Danger/Sharp)
Danger and Sharp partnered together for the Sidekick 2 that was released in 2004. On the Sidekick 2 the D-Pad was moved to the left side of the Sidekick 2, along with volume up/down and power on buttons on the bottom of phone. The Sidekick 2 also featured a VGA camera, along with the addition of page-up/page-down buttons on the top and bottom of the scroll wheel. The line-by-line scrolling feature is notable to the Hiptop brand of products and is not a feature of most other multi-function cell phones.
T-Mobile Sidekick 3 (Danger/Sharp)
2 years after the release of the Sidekick 2 Danger and Sharp partnered up once again for the T-Mobile Sidekick 3. Released in July 2006, the Sidekick 3 was smaller than the previous Sidekick versions, measuring 130 mm x 59 mm x 22 mm. Unlike the Sidekick 2, all the features on the Sidekick 3 stayed the same.
T-Mobile Sidekick iD (Danger/Sharp)
The Sidekick iD is a smaller version of the Sidekick 3 and was released in April 2007. The Sidekick iD was aimed at the younger crowd. To reduce the cost of the Sidekick iD, Sharp removed some of the features of the Sidekick 3, including the 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth capability, and the media player.
T-Mobile Sidekick LX (Danger/Sharp)
The Sidekick LX was released in October 2007. It came in two different colors, Midnight Blue and Espresso Brown. The LX included a wider, higher-resolution screen, the ability to flip the screen with a button on the top of the phone, upgraded keyboard, blue LED mood lights on all four corners, a Micro SD card slot with a 128 MB card included, and an updated operating system. On July 16, 2008, T-Mobile released a limited edition Tony Hawk Edition Sidekick LX, which included video recording.
Sidekick Slide (Danger/Motorola)
T-Mobile released the Sidekick Slide in November 2007. The Sidekick Slide offered many of the same features and services as every other Danger device and an update to Danger’s latest OS version. Also included were upgrades such as 128MB RAM, 225 MHz TI OMAP 850 processor and a second speaker which is located on the back of the device. On November 16, 2007 T-Mobile suspended sales of the Sidekick Slide, after Motorola confirmed that some devices would inadvertently powered off when the slide door was opened or closed. On November 21, 2007, Motorola stated the failures were triggered by poor battery contacts. On December 6, 2007 the Sidekick Slide was once again available for purchase. The Sidekick Slide was officially discontinued on August 8, 2008. It was available for sale again on December 12, 2008, since then T-Mobile has once again discontinued the sell of the Sidekick Slide.
T-Mobile Sidekick 2008 (Danger/Sharp)
In August 2008, Danger and Sharp partnered up once again to release the T-Mobile Sidekick ’08. This Sidekick had improved features such as a high resolution 2-mega pixel camera, video functionality, and AIM. The Sidekick ’08 also went back to the swivel Qwerty design and had the ability to change the faceplate and backplate.
T-Mobile Sidekick LX 2009 (Danger/Sharp)
Danger and Sharp partnered up to make the last T-Mobile Sidekick, the Sidekick LX ’09 which was released in May 2009. The new Sidekick supported 3G and HSDPA, along with various changes to the hardware which included a 3.2 inch F-WVGA display, 854×480 resolution and a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. Support for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace was also added to this Sidekick, allowing notifications to be displayed in the notification bar. YouTube streaming playback is also became supported. The Sidekick LX 2009 offered synchronization with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange.
Sidekick platform discontinued
T-Mobile announced in July 2010, that the Sidekick LX 09 and Sidekick 2008 would no longer be available through T-Mobile. In September 2010, Danger also notified its development community that they would no longer be accepting submissions for its application store. This was followed by the closure of the Danger Developer Zone forums and any related archives.It has been reported that Microsoft will discontinue Danger’s cloud service on May 31, 2011 after that date, Sidekicks will no longer have access to any data services, however the voice services will still function so the Sidekick can still be used as a phone.
The Future of the Sidekick
Since the beginning of this year we have heard rumors of an Android Sidekick coming to T-Mobile in the future. Well, T-Mobile has updated their site to include a sneak peek at their new upcoming Sidekick. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G made by Samsung is rumored to be released sometime this spring with no definite date as of yet. It will be the first Sidekick to have a touch screen, Android 2.2, 1GHZ processor, and dual cameras (3mp in back and front facing camera for video chat).
Danger, INC. and Android
Andy Rubin is both the co-founder and former CEO of not only Danger, INC but also Android. He came to found Danger, INC. back in 2000 with Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt. In February 2008, Microsoft acquired the company and Andy Rubin went on to develop Android, which was later acquired by Google and led to Rubin’s current position with the firm as VP of Engineering. Since both Danger, INC. and Android were co-founded by Rubin it is not unlikely that we will see many interesting Android/Sidekick phones in the future.