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Sidekicked: T-Mobile Discontinues the Sidekick Line


Ah, the Sidekick. Grandaddy of messaging phones, a predecessor to the smartphone. It's the neanderthal to the smartphone's homo sapiens of the phone world—bigger and tougher than the newer smartphones, but dumber, and eventually doomed.

The Sidekick line has been immensely popular for T-Mobile, with its big, roomy keyboard, comparatively big screen, and abilities like email and Web browsing that were way ahead of its time. But to keep the price down, the Sidekick never evolved into much more than it was—it's still pretty much the same device that launched in 2004 as the Danger Hiptop, with a few bells and whistles.

It's had trouble lately, what with that insane data loss last year, and the line never really recovered its credibility or trustworthiness. So it's not really that surprising that T-Mobile killed it. Said T-Mobile:

"While we work on the next chapter of our storied Sidekick franchise, T-Mobile will continue to provide our loyal Sidekick customers with product service and support. Stay tuned for exciting updates in the months ahead, which we expect will provide customers with a new and fresh experience."

There are rumors that T-Mobile plans to replace the Sidekick line with low-end Android phones like the upcoming HTC MyTouch 3G Slide—makes sense, but the phones require an expensive monthly data plan, and may not be able to attract the same customers that opted for the cheaper Sidekick.

Is the smartphone killing all comers? It certainly looks like it—the very similar Microsoft Kin saw a ridiculously early demise yesterday, after only six weeks on the market. And interestingly, the Kin is made by Danger, a team Microsoft bought based on their success making the—wait for it—Sidekick.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).