Sidekick 4G hands-on

SideKick was once the be all and end all when it came to being a teen and talking with your mates. The world has moved on though, so can a re-invented T-Mobile Sidekick 4G bring back some of that kick?

Designed by Samsung, and featuring Android 2.2 instead of the original custom operating system by Danger (they were bought by Microsoft), the new model keeps the ideology of the original models, but jazzes it up massively for those idolising Hannah Montana rather than Paris Hilton.

Now in two colour schemes - pink (magenta) and black and black and white - the Sidekick is available on T-Mobile in the US only at the moment, but promises to be fast and cool.

Central to the design is 3.5-inch touchscreen display and the "pop-tilt" hinge that reveals the five-row QWERTY keyboard.

It’s the keyboard that’s always been the key “want” about this device and from our brief hands on at CTIA 2011 we are pleased to say it didn't disappoint.

Elsewhere you’ll get four dedicated shortcut keys, which can be programmed, though mainly now feel redundant because of the touchscreen offering on the smartphone.

For those that care, the Sidekick 4G is powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo) and a speedy 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor (the same as the Samsung Galaxy S), while you’ll also get a 3-megapixel camera around back and a lesser camera forward facing, so you can smile at yourself or do video calling.

There’s also a glowing, flashing LED light on the device so you can see if you’ve got a message without flipping open the case every 2 minutes, for those “she might have called to say yes and I missed it” moments.

Power on the phone and at first it’s hard to see Android. The Samsung team here has given us an iconic bold software interface that’s all at a tilt - presumably because that’s cool.

We didn’t have long with the device, but we did get to check out the new Group Text and Cloud Text messaging system.  

“Sidekick's Group Text feature lets customers create, name, manage and participate in reply-all group text conversations, enabling them to lead their network in conversation and social planning,” says Samsung. What that translates to in real life is BBM for a bunch of friends all on the same conversation.

Cloud Text provides the option to text with friends or groups across platforms, whether from the comfort of their PC's large screen and keyboard, or from their new Sidekick 4G.

You’ll also get DriveSmart from T-Mobile, an app that automatic tells incoming call and messages that you’re driving and will respond when it's safe. Yep we know what you’re thinking - but in America texting while driving is still a massive car crash.

The new Sidekick is going to be available later this “spring”.

Will it come to the UK? It has the smarts to do so, just a case of waiting to see if it does.

We will keep you posted.