Android Phones

T-Mobile Sidekick plucks at my heart with new Android format [Video hands-on]

March 22, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

Samsung, T-Mobile


The T-Mobile Sidekick is a legendary phone. Sure, you Droid X owners or people eyeing the Optimus 2X may scoff at that notion, but the Sidekick was an infamous phone during my adolescence and holds a special place in my generation’s heart.

The only problem is that my generation has moved on to Android, BlackBerry, and the iPhone, so T-Mobile has wisely decided to refocus the Sidekick brand as a 4G Android phone. Enter the Sidekick 4G, A Samsung-manufactured T-Mobile exclusive that takes the unique keyboard and messaging device into the Android phone era.

T-Mobile gave attendees at CTIA 2011 a first look at the Sidekick 4G and I walked away surprised. Let’s get this out of the way: this is not the device for the dual-core-craving, gaming powerhouse, Android users whose priorities are top level specs. However, there’s more than enough power in this device – 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, VGA front-facing camera, and T-Mobile 4G speeds of up to 21 Mbps – to make this device capable of handling most of what’s thrown at it.

The people who should pay attention to the Sidekick 4G are the same ones who fell in love with the original – teens and young adults, social actively folks, and people who want their phone to be fun and responsive. There’s a wonky set-up for search, home, back, and menu buttons, that I can see leading to awkward transitions for experienced Android users. Still, the landscape-oriented keyboard is otherwise nice and fun to use, with soft buttons that are raised above a solid frame and gripped exterior.

T-Mobile hasn’t pinned down a release date, but I’m more interested in getting some time with this product than I originally thought I would. Here’s a hands-on demo from the showroom floor.