Tag Archives | Sidekick

T-Mobile Announces Sidekick 4G

After T-Mobile discontined sales of the iconic Sidekick smartphone last July, some wondered if the company had plans to keep the brand alive. There had been some rumors that the company was planning on a new Android-based version of the device — that appears to be true. The Sidekick 4G will hit the shelves later this spring, sporting a familiar design but fast HSPA+ data and manufactured by Samsung.

While the device will certainly look like a Sidekick, it willl have some key changes. The 3.5-inch display is now a touchscreen, and it will be tightly integrated with social media with built in Facebook and Twitter applications. Since it’s now a Android device, users will now have access to the thousands of apps from the Android Market.

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T-Mobile Discontinues Sidekick, Ponders Options

Yesterday it was the Microsoft Kin that got the axe. Today, its a much more popular phone that is riding off into the sunset. T-Mobile said Thursday that all sales of its popular Sidekick QWERTY device would be halted after the close of business Friday. The move would end a six-year relationship with Danger, who is now owned by Microsoft.

It’s not clear whether or not this move has anything to do with the Kin announcement. The Sidekick and Microsoft’s social phone are somewhat related: the Kin was developed with the help of the folks from Danger, although it was based on Microsoft’s code and not the Danger OS.

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Sidekick Sales Resuming

If you’re brave enough to want a Sidekick from T-Mobile after last month’s data loss fiasco, wait no longer. The carrier has resumed sales of the device, even throwing a price cut in for good measure. The older Sidekick 2008 is $49.99, and the fancier Sidekick LX will retail for $149.99, both with a two-year contract commitment. The meager price drops (about $25) may not be enough for many to take a chance on the company, however.

At least two states, California and Washington, are in the process of suing the company over the data loss. T-Mobile itself has done a little damage control by giving $100 credits to unhappy customers. All in all, October was a month the carrier would like to forget. Let’s just hope this time they have a backup…

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Microsoft: “Steady Progress” on Sidekick Data Restore

Good news for those of us out there affected by the Sidekick data mess: Microsoft on Monday said that it was continuing to work “around the clock” on the problem, and was making “steady progress” in attempting to restore data. The first of the user content to be restored would be user contacts (probably the most important for most of us), with photographs, notes, to-do-lists, marketplace data, and high scores to follow later.

No exact time frame has been given for the full restore. However, for those who have been affected by the issue (I actually met somebody over the weekend that lost nothing, so it’s not everybody), this is now two weeks after the initial data loss. You have to figure that many have recovered most of their data through other means, so a restore is becoming less and less useful.

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Microsoft: Sidekick Data Disaster Less Disastrous!

SidekickLatest update on the Sidekick data disaster: Microsoft has published a letter from Sidekick honcho Roz Ho saying that the company now thinks it has “recovered most, if not all” of the user data that’s been missing. The mess started October 2nd when a system outage began, and will apparently continue at least a bit longer while Microsoft finishes prepping the data for restoration.

A few notes:

1) By way of explanation for the meltdown, Ho’s letter says that Microsoft has “determined that the outage was caused by a system failure that created data loss in the core database and the back-up.” That’s pretty much a tautology given that the company had already warned customers that the data might be lost forever.

2) Ho’s title is kinda unfortunate at the moment: Corporate Vice President, Premium Mobile Experiences.

3) A service outage/data disruption that lasts half a month isn’t as bad as losing user data forever, but it still ranks among the worst service breakdowns in the history of personal technology. (In fact, if you can think of any involving major companies that lasted anywhere near as long, remind me.)

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“Always On,” Eh?

T-Mobile may have halted sales of Sidekicks, but its marketing materials for the phone are still up and available. And they seem to be mocking T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger. I wonder if references to “always on” apps henceforth will have to be asterisked with a disclaimer: “Unless we suffer a lengthy outage and turn out to have lost most of our customers’ data…”


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Sidekick Disaster: How to Make Amends?

Danger SidekickA little more news on the Sidekick data disaster: CNET’s Ina Fried is reporting that T-Mobile has halted sales of the device. And John Herrman of Gizmodo has a post about offers apparently being made by T-Mobile reps to affected customers, none of which sound like appropriate responses to the enormity of what’s apparently happened: a month of free service, a small discount on another phone, and the ability to get out of a contract without paying a penalty.

Presumably, what Sidekick users really want is to keep on using their Sidekicks with the data they thought was safe and sound. But if their stuff really is gone, what would be an adequate action on the part of T-Mobile and/or Microsoft? Free service for a year? Two years? Three? A cash payment of $250? $500? $1000? Immediate upgrade to any device sold by the carrier at no cost?

I’m dying to know what you think–especially if you’re a Sidekick owner…


Sidekick Disaster: A Sign of Things to Come?

Danger SidekickThere’s no new news this Monday morning on Microsoft’s apparent loss of vast quantities of data belonging to users of T-Mobile Sidekick phones–T-Mobile’s most recent missive to customers is still the apologetic forum message telling them not to power down their Sidekicks if they can possibly avoid it. You gotta think there’s more pain to come–for Sidekick owners who have lost photos, address books, and other data, and for T-Mobile and Sidekick, who may end up with permanently tarnished reputations.

I’m still scratching my head and trying to think of any remotely comparable examples of large companies simply losing huge amounts of essential customer information, and I’m coming up short. (The closest parallel–instances of companies leaving customers in the lurch by intentionally shutting down services-isn’t really comparable.)

This incident may be unique, at least for the moment. But do you think it’s an early warning sign of danger to come as we all live more and more of our lives on the Web?


Microsoft to Sidekick Users: We Seem to Have Lost Your Data

Danger SidekickI’ve always admired the Sidekick smartphone–the first one was the first really good pocketable Web device–but found the name of the company behind it, Danger, kinda discordant. Now it appears to be prophetic: As Engadget is reporting, this week’s service disruption appears to be the least of Sidekick users’ worries. The T-Mobile forums have a message from T-Mobile and Danger (which is now part of Microsoft) saying that any data not currently on user’s devices has most likely been lost:

Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information.

Breathtaking. Extended Internet-related service outages are commonplace, but major examples of data loss involving large companies aren’t so common. (This brings to mind Ma.gnolia’s meltdown in January, but that service was run by one guy–not by the largest software company in the world.) It’s going to be fascinating to hear Microsoft’s explanation of what happened, and why it apparently has no usable backup of its customers’ data. And to see just what long-term effect this has on the Danger platform, which is supposedly the basis for Microsoft’s allegedly troubled “Pink” phone project.

My assumption is usually that big Internet-savvy companies are going to do a better job of religiously backing up data than I am, but this is a wake-up call: None of us really have a clue how safe our data is when it’s stored in the cloud. Not to mention a massive embarrassment for Microsoft