Mar 15 AT 2:22 PM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

T-Mobile Sidekick 4G by Samsung expected to be available this spring

Today Samsung and T-Mobile announced the new Sidekick 4G, which is expected to be available this spring. The popular messaging phone debuted back in 2002 and was originally produced by Danger Incorporated, which was co-founded by Andy Rubin who also co-founded Android and now oversees the development of Google’s mobile platform.

The Sidekick brand took a major beating with a nasty data outage in 2009 and was discontinued in 2010, but now T-Mobile has decided to revive the series by going with Android and giving it the 4G treatment.

“Backed by the faster speeds on T-Mobile’s 4G network, the new Sidekick 4G offers customers both speed and style,” said Andrew Sherrard, SVP product management, T-Mobile USA. “We’ve reinvented the messaging experience that made the Sidekick such an iconic device, and supercharged it with communication and entertainment experiences that take full advantage of our 4G network.”

A quick look at the Sidekick 4G specs shows us this device has the same interal hardware as the Galaxy S 4G. That means it has Samsung’s 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU, which is one of the fastest single-core mobile processors available. However, it loses the Super AMOLED display in order to reduce costs.

Highlights of the Sidekick 4G include:

  • Android 2.2
  • 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU
  • 3 megapixel primary camera, VGA front-facing camera
  • 3.5 inch WVGA display
  • Internal storage not announced
  • Five-row QWERTY keyboard
  • Support for 4G HSPA+ 21 Mbps

Staying true to the brand, the Sidekick 4G features a QWERTY keyboard with a full five rows. It also includes the customary four Android buttons along with an optical trackball and a jump key for multitasking. Gone is the Sidekick’s swivel display, which has been replaced with a unique pop-tilt hinge.

T-Mobile wants to redefine the messaging experience with Sidekick Group Text and Cloud Text. Group Text is an app that provides reply-all group text conversations (similar to free apps like Beluga or GroupMe) and Cloud Text allows you to text with your friends while on the PC.

Several weeks ago I got to fondle a Sidekick 4G and I was impressed with both the hardware and software. It’s obvious that T-Mobile is targeting the mainstream audience who enjoys social messaging, but it was nice to see them include the 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU and support 4G speeds up to 21 Mbps.

The pop-tilt hinge was very sturdy and it took some extra force to get it open. It felt a little stiff, but I’m sure that will smooth out once you become familiar with opening and closing the keyboard. Overall I thought the hinge design was pretty cool and I like that it tilted the screen up to provide a better viewing angle.

Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has been replaced with a special Sidekick skin that comes with its own theme manager. As with most custom UIs you will either love it or hate it, but thankfully Android allows the user to easily replace the pre-loaded launcher and customize the phone to their liking.

It was already announced that T-Mobile would shut-off current Sidekick data services by May 31st, so we expect the Sidekick 4G to be available for pre-order by then. Customers will be able to choose from two colors, matte black or pearl magenta, and we expect the Sidekick 4G to be priced around $149 with contract.

To sign up for more updates, please visit the official Sidekick 4G mini site.

If you owned a previous model Sidekick, please sound off and let us know what you think about the updated Samsung version. Does T-Mobile have a winner with the Sidekick 4G?

Sidekick 4G Sidekick 4G_front_open_sleep screen blue (1) Sidekick-4G_front_open_menu Sidekick-4G_back_open_matte-black Sidekick-4G_back_open_pearl-magenta


Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://Website rikki:)

    I really wanted this phone but the specs are really sad I mean come on who has a 3mp camera anymore!

    • http://Website jorge

      Not everyone uses their phone’s camera to take pictures. If people are serious about pictures they use real cameras and only use their phone’s camera for social updates.

  • Mike Leahy

    Nice… I’m getting this. I had a Sidekick 3 before I jumped to the G1 and even ported parts of TyphonRT to it and dabbled with app dev. I didn’t like the approval process though. Is kind of why I took up Android dev right away. Also it’ll be nice to finally have a device with a 5th row of keys!!! Screw it if I already have the Nexus S.. hrmph… It better cost less off contrac; no super-AMOLED, boot!! ;P picky picky… hurumph Between quite possible getting the G2X and the G-Slate goodness… damn dev costs.. It’s almost worse now than constantly upgrading a desktop box… T3 this fall!!! ahh.. ;P

  • Drew

    HSPA+ and a full five row keyboard is nice, but c’mon.

    2.2? Seriously? Gingerbread has been out for a few months now, and Samsung insists on shipping Froyo?

    • Dave

      Like every smartphone except the Nexus One & Nexus S have 2.2, so what’s the problem. 2.3 will get there.

  • anton

    In my opinion this device is a new generation. and fans will be glad of this news is, it’s not every day the world gets such a creature.

  • http://Website panic

    I can’t say I’m pleased with the outcome of this device although the specs are nice the fact that they chose a slide screen over swivel is a deal breaker. The swivel screen was the sidekicks trademark, and as an old lx owner I think they should have kept that alive.

    • http://Website Piqutchi

      I imagine the special Sidekick hinge was the property of Danger, which as you probably know was acquired by Microsoft. Thus, T-Mobile could not use that style hinge without permission (and I doubt Microsoft would really allow such a move for a competing phone/OS).

  • http://Website ramc

    The Sidekick 4G would’ve been better if it had the following specs since it’s an Android/Samsung Smartphone:
    - 4.0″ Screen with Super Ampler Plus
    - 1GHz Dual Core Exynos Processor
    - 8MP Back Camera with 1080p / Dual LED Flash
    - 2MP Front Camera with 720p
    - Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
    - Multicolor LED Trackpad
    - 16GB ROM / 1GB RAM

    • Taylor Wimberly

      If you want Exynos then just wait for the Galaxy S II.

    • http://Website rikki:)


    • http://Website watbetch

      Those specs are pretty high end for a device that doesn’t appeal to that market. A 2MP 720P FFC is a waste of money, really.. no one needs that much detail of your face.

      It has 4G. It has a decent processor. It has Android 2.2 for Flash content and it has a front facing camera for video chat. The software is also customized towards messaging. What more could you ask for in a Sidekick. Compared to the older LX 2009 this Sidekick is beyond high end.

    • http://Website Jon

      Thanks captain obvious! “This phone would be better if it had better specs.”

  • http://Website Mark

    I’m honestly sick of people whining and complaining. It’s a freaking TEEN phone aimed at the, well, TEEN crowd. People that just want to update social sites, keep in contact with friends and all that stuff. Not for serious photography or 5 core processors. Jeez….if you want those type of phones look into Verizon and AT&T’s SUPER smartphone offerings. >_>

    • http://Website Jon

      Or get the HTC Pyramid. It should be dropping around the same time.

  • YoSaintLaurent

    I love how it came out. It looks like I nice blend between a android device and a Sidekick. I am interested to check out the UI. As specs go, for the people who the device is marketed towards it will offer more than enough power.

  • http://Website zholliddroid

    ewww touchwiz is that what you call? Stock all the way.

  • http://Website tsunami surfer

    Welcome to 1999….haha what joke…very poor specs!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://spokenword07 Dave

      Yeah… when the Android platform was created. Along with the creation of 1Ghz Hummingbird processors, & FFC’s were ever so popular & integrated on phones. What a win dude….

  • http://Website UCLA student Marie-Anne

    iphone is better

    • bbj205

      get out of here with that iphone CRAP.

    • http://Website Mark

      Don’t feed the troll. It’s Ben posting under different names.

    • Dave

      *Attempts web browsing, flash-enable websites on iPhone* :D

  • http://Website Karl

    When it came time for me to buy a new phone I went for the G1, it was the closest one to the design of the sidekick. When the G2 came out I got that phone. The G2 had much of the same feel of the Sidekick with the Z-hinge keyboard. I can text, email, and write documents faster than anyone on the i-phone. The sidekick’s keyboard works and is built to last, another reason I went for the G2.

    The 3.5 inch screen seems to be a major drawback that will not compete with the phones out there today.

    All the phones on the market look pretty dull, and with the things costing 150 to 500 dollars it would be nice to have a phone in a color besides black, and the white and purple phone looks pretty sexy but still not as exciting as some of the personalized sidekicks from a few years back. With Samsung and T-mobile marketing the sidekick to the younger crowd, this should allow them to feel more free to experiment with the user interface, and physical designs of the phone. Hopefully personalized sidekicks will be in the works in the future.

    I give a big thumbs up to Samsung and T-mobile for readdressing the social aspects of phones, instead of trying to double processing speeds, or packing in more pixels in the camera.

    I for one welcome another phone with a QWERTY keyboard and the return of the 5 row keyboard as there are only a few choices out there.

    • http://Website heeros

      I agree with the screen comment, 3.5″ isn’t quite big enough but 4 would be too big. I would have expected at least a 5 mp camera since most current devices have 5mp+.
      I also have to agree with the 5 row keyboard, I didn’t like having to adapt to the 4 row keyboard on my g2 after the g1.
      A front facing camera would have been nice though, considering it’s a 4g phone. I can’t imagine that would add much more production cost.

  • http://Website lucky1

    Who cares what the specs are on the new sidekick cause if you still have a sidekick lx right now like I do, you have alot to catch up with all of these other phones that came out. Im just glad that it has the qwerty keys that i am used to cause the those touch screens can work a nerve sometimes.

  • http://Website trish

    Crappy camera…

  • http://Website chris

    you all that are dissing this phone are dumb!! its sick!! the specs are fine forget all you gay people