T-Mobile Finally Kills Off The Sidekick

from the say-a-little-prayer dept

The first ever smartphone that got me excited about what smartphones could do was the T-Mobile Sidekick, made by the company Danger, which was amazingly hyped up for a time in Silicon Valley. It remains the only phone that I ever bought the day that it came out (even though I didn't really use it as a phone, but as a portable email/internet device). Danger made some big mistakes early on, such as taking a pretty big investment from T-Mobile, which meant that no other carriers had any interest in carrying the phone (why help a competitor?) in the US. That really hurt the company's ability to grow. The company also had a really dreadful developer strategy -- initially launching without an SDK for outside developers, and then remaining an extremely closed system that pissed off many developers, and simply made many developers ignore the platform.

In 2007, after the Sidekick had long fallen off the map, and after the initial iPhone had already hit the market, Danger announced plans to IPO, but with financials that were anything but appealing. Microsoft stepped in and bought the company instead, probably more for the (remaining) talent than anything else. A year later, there was a massive server failure, that caused a bunch of people to lose data. It became clear that the platform was really on its last legs.

And, now, finally, T-Mobile is putting it out of its misery and will be shutting off service to its Sidekick servers. If you don't remember (or never knew), the way the Sidekick worked was everything had to go through special Sidekick/Danger servers hosted by your ISP (in some ways similar to the way Blackberries work). So, without those servers, the few remaining Sidekicks become even more useless. Somewhere, buried in a box, I'm pretty sure I still have my original (black and white!) Sidekick. I might just have to put it on my desk as a reminder of how quickly technology changes.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    GeneralEmergency, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 12:34am


    ...its past midnight.

    Go to bed.

    We all need you fresh for whatever silliness happens tomorrow.

    Stuff like "MPAA head Dodd calls Multi-Terabyte drives 'Tools of the Devil'."

    (You know it will happen.)


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Sajid Mehmood, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 1:08am

    Andy Rubin (Android/Google) founded Danger

    It's probably also worth noting that one of the founders of Danger was Andy Rubin, founder of Android, and now Google executive in charge of the platform.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 2:09am

    Re: Mike....

    For those that are confused, I believe that I should just point out that this site has a (semi?) automatic article posting mechanism. Also, crystal ball wielders have the ability to see the finished article one hour (or something) before it actually becomes public (among other benefits), which means that this article probably went live at ~11pm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Rabbit80, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 2:11am

    This is why..

    This is why I will not buy products that rely on external servers in order to keep functioning. It doesn't matter if it is DRM, or function - if there is an alternative to having to talk to a third party server I will take it. Therefore I will not buy iPhone or Blackberry, I will not buy games that require an internet connection and I will not buy any product that can be turned off or crippled remotely!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 3:24am

    Re: This is why..


    Thanks so much for your paranoid worldview. It has contributed greatly to the conversation. Now please pull your tinfoil hat back down over your ears, for the rays are strong tonight and I wish you no harm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Alatar, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 3:52am

    Not actually killed

    They said another system is ready to continue it, plus they are releasing the Sidekick 4G which is... well... 4G with Android

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    New Mexico Mark, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: This is why..


    Thank you so much for being the mouthpiece of your controllers. It has contributed greatly to the conversation. Enjoy bathing in the rays and never forget that freedom is slavery. That would be doubleungood.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re: Mike....

    It should also be pointed out that Mike is actually an android pod person who does not sleep, but rather shuts down to replenish his multi-core nuclear power cell unit, all in order to revisit us later and further destroy American democracy, puppies, pregnant nuns, and apple pie.

    Or maybe that original commenter was just an idiot.

    You decide....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 6:34am

    With those horrible patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and that horrible patent thicket, things move forward, rapidly.

    Amazing, isn't it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    davebarnes (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 8:33am

    Sidekick Lives !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Hang on to that Sidekick!

    Mike if you still have it in it's original box you should hang onto that sidekick. Someday some nastalgic nerd will be willing to pay big bucks to add it to his obsolete gadget collection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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