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Tuesday March 1, 2011 6:42 pm

T-Mobile Sidekick service gets killed


t-mobile sidekick dead

RIP, Sidekick. T-Mobile's once-beloved e-mail phone will finally die on May 31, when T-Mobile and Microsoft pull the plug on the specialized data service that delivers Web pages, e-mails, and apps to the Sidekick line.

"It was a joint decision reached by Microsoft and T-Mobile," T-Mobile spokesman Tom Harlin said. "We think it's a natural order for products to be replaced by newer technology, and we've announced there will be a 4G-enabled, Android-powered Sidekick."

But here's the catch: Harlin refused to commit to releasing the new Sidekick before May 31, saying only that "in terms of the next Sidekick, we'll have more information in the coming weeks."

Originally known as the Danger Hiptop, the T-Mobile Sidekick was a huge breakthrough for affordable, easy-to-use messaging phones when it first came out in 2002. Seven more models came out through 2009, and the Sidekick built a reputation as a popular messaging solution for young people with prepaid accounts. T-Mobile stopped selling the Sidekick last July.


 

In 2008, Sidekick maker Danger was bought by Microsoft. The combined company then brought out the Microsoft KIN, which was widely considered a failure after Verizon required an expensive data plan to make up for the fact that the KIN frequently uploaded huge photos to the Internet. Few KINs sold; then the KIN's special data service was cut off and Verizon now sells the device as a texting phone.

Sidekick users have been some of T-Mobile's most faithful, and company CEO Phillip Humm has said T-Mobile has problems with "churn," or existing customers leaving the service. So how will T-Mobile keep Sidekick users from jumping ship?

"We're trying to be very transparent and really proactive," Harlin said. "We're providing offers for these customers, providing options for them to easily move their data and help get them right-fitted for whatever products they seem to like in our lineup."

T-Mobile currently offers a tool on tmobile.com for Sidekick users to download or sync their personal data and photos onto their own computers or over to other Web-based services. An application is also available in the Sidekick Catalog to make it easy to export personal data to the Sidekick's memory card, the carrier says. Here's the full announcement:

 

After May 31, 2011, the Danger Service (a subsidiary of Microsoft) used by T-Mobile Sidekick customers for data services will no longer be available on Sidekick devices.
 
T-Mobile will provide offers for our Sidekick customers before May 31, 2011, to help make an easy transition from their existing Sidekick device to a new device. We will have more information to share about these offers with our customers in the weeks ahead.
 
To ensure the best possible transition for our loyal Sidekick customers, an enhanced Web tool is available on myT-Mobile.com to easily export their personal data, including contacts, photos, calendar, notes, to-do lists, and bookmarks, from the Danger service to a new device, computer, or a designated e-mail account.  An application is also available in the Sidekick Catalog to make it easy to export personal data to the Sidekick’s memory card.  Many T-Mobile stores can transfer data from that card to a new T-Mobile device if the customer brings in the memory card and Sidekick.

This article, written by Sascha Segan, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc..

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