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7/23/2008
10:12 PM
Paige Finkelman
Paige Finkelman
Commentary
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Where For Art Thou Sidekick?

With all the kerfuffle about the new iPhone 3G, other mobile players have been overshadowed by the Apple smartphone. With this recent flood of interest in the do-everything wireless device, I want to quickly highlight a quieter player in the mobile market that could potentially effect the enterprise in a major way. The Sidekick.Danger Inc. surfaced with the T-Mobile Sidekick or Hiptop in October 2002 . The original device set the tone for future Sidekicks to come. Boasting a unique swivel screen and thumb-operated keyboard, the phone didnt look like others handhelds on the market. The device came with email (or in this case, tmail), instant messaging service and a mobile browser.Where the Blackberry and Treo were aimed at business customers, the Sidekick was marketed to a younger 18 to 34 year old demographic. With celebrity endorsements from Dwayne Wade and Tony Hawk, and more recently limited Diane von Furstenberg edition Sidekicks, the phone gave off a very young, urban vibe.Danger Inc. and their Sidekick have yet to make a play as a business platform, but it could be on the horizon. Microsoft acquired Danger in February 2008, and their motive is up for debate. Could they simply be trying to put a bigger stake in the ground in the mobile market, or is there a bigger picture plan to market the Sidekick to the enterprise?Microsoft wouldnt want to harm their Windows Mobile OS sales but is there an opportunity for further integration? Microsofts suite of products could potentially be incorporated into Dangers software, making the device a cooler, younger smartphone. The Hiptop email client can already display attached .PDF and .doc files, and the browser isnt shabby either. In fact, its even faster than a stand-alone smartphone browser because the host server does most of the grunt work.The Sidekick III now incorporates AIM, Yahoo! Instant Messanger and Windows Live Messenger clients. Its slick design is also a huge selling point its incredibly user-friendly. The latest LX has a larger and improved display. A full keyboard and screen make for easy text and email typing, and the 'back' and 'jump' keys can be used when the phone is closed.I must admit that I am slightly biased. I am a Sidekick owner, and I love the thing. Its currently my personal phone, but Id love to use it as my PDA. Fingers crossed that Microsoft shifts their strategy and turns the Sidekick into the next business platform.

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