T-Mobile Sidekick 4G Hands-on at CTIA 2011
I’ll admit, I’ve never been the biggest Sidekick lover. It’s not that I’ve ever had any problems with the phone; it’s just not my style. The Sidekick lineup has always been very consistent in its look and feel, with the full QWERTY keyboard for messaging and the flip-twist type sliding mechanism that was quite trendy amongst kids.
But recently the Sidekicks were feared done for good, since Danger was no longer committed to making them and Microsoft vowed to shut down the servers that held all of your personal Sidekick information in the cloud. Fortunately for Sidekick lovers, however, Samsung took over and made a new Sidekick with Android built in, dubbed the Sidekick 4G due to its inclusion of T-Mobile’s 21 Mbps 4G service.
Now the current version of the Sidekick is more powerful and capable than it has ever been before, and could certainly be enough to capture the hearts and minds of teens everywhere once again.
Playing with the Sidekick, I noticed a similar style keyboard to what has been in Sidekicks before. I love having the 5-row keyboard which allows a full row of numbers to be thrown in; dedicated specialty keys such as @, emoticons, and speech-to-text add even more value to the keyboard for me. The only drawback I can see in the keyboard is how much space is put in between keys. I do like space, but enjoy only so much of it. Too much space makes it more difficult to stretch the fingers across the board and type fast.
The Android UI is also completely unique, especially for Samsung Android phones. The bottom 3 icons found on most Androids have been replaced with full words, and everything on the Sidekick seems to be simplified somewhat. No Touchwiz UI on this phone; just a few other Samsung-customized options tossed in to give it more of a Sidekick look and feel.
Instead of a trackball, the Sidekick 4G has opted for an optical pad. Good choice, in my opinion, because trackballs are too easy to get grimy and stuck.
Here is my full video and picture gallery showing off several features of the Sidekick 4G. It will be available at an undisclosed time (we assume April sometime) for $99.99 with new contract, and we saw the Sidekick in two color variants: black and white (the white has pink underneath the slider).