When the T-Mobile Sidekick, or Danger Hiptop in other markets, first came out it was looked at as a bulky, novelty pager. It was mostly because of the flip screen, colorful scroll wheel, and the cartoony user-interface. Also, that monochrome display was bland, and the battery life sucked. Danger stepped their game up when they got to the Sidekick II, though. Built by Sharp, the II had better build quality, color screen, directional pad, instant messenger apps, and finally a camera.
The trend continued with the Sharp-manufactured Sidekick III, with upgrades to hardware and improvements to usability. I actually kept a cellphone on the side with an out of town number just in case people wanted to “play” with my phone and be nosy. The Sidekick’s reign lasted until a more superior phone with a touchscreen was released in 2007, but to this day it still remains the king of all superphones.
Nonetheless, we loved the Sidekick in its heyday. Now if you want anything close to a Sidekick, you’ll have to get the Microsoft Kin, which looks like a f*cking makeup case.
Here are the five things I miss about my Sidekick.
1. The Hardware
Up until the Sidekick LX, Danger was the original innovators of cellphone progression. With each update, we got more software features, better speeds, and hardware upgrades. When the Sidekick II got the camera and the D-pad, you could actually play games and take decent pictures. The LEDs on the phone were a staple as well. They flashed or pulsated for notifications. That was unheard of back then. And when they added the trackball with the LED built in on the Sidekick III, it was on!
2. The Swivel
The most noticeable Sidekick feature was the swivel. When you’d flip that b*tch out on a chick while getting her number, as opposed to writing it on a piece of paper, it lit the room up. Much like the sensation you got from closing your flip phone, the swivel open and closing was so slick, you used to play with it.
3. The “In Crowd” Effect
Celebs would complain via MySpace that their Sidekick wasn’t working too, or attended those exclusive Sidekick parties. Also, the Sidekick was pretty expensive. Before the smartphone prices we know today, people who dropped $299.99 for a Sidekick were considered ballers in the eyes of the general public. But, much like Blackberrys, there was still a “luxury” tax, a.k.a. a data plan, applied on every T-Mobile bill.
4. The Full Keyboard
Back when T9 ran the cellphone world, the Sidekick was leaving them in the dust with its QWERTY keyboard. Big people complained that their buttons were too tiny to press. But with practice, anyone could be a wiz on that thing, eventually giving you more time to text and keep it moving. It helped that T-Mobile also had unlimited texting, emails, and IMs.
5. Easy Downloads
Before their was the App Store and Play Store, Danger gave us the Download Catalog, and man, this was everything. Back then, not only could you download useful utilities, like tricked out calculators and Instant Messaging apps, but there was also tons of games. The best thing was it had the “real”-sounding ringtones! And you could download them straight to your phone.