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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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April 16, 2009 9:00 PM

T-Mobile releases 3G Sidekick, first Danger phone via Microsoft

Posted by Brier Dudley

You can't call it a big screen, but T-Mobile USA is excited about the relatively big display its using on the 3G Sidekick LX that's going on sale May 13.

At 3.2 inches and 854x480 resolution, it's the biggest, brightest screen yet on a T-Mobile phone.

sidekick1.JPG

sidekickpurpside.JPG

The company's talking the Sharp Aquos-powered screen up in part because the LX is aimed at young social media fans. It comes set to display video on sites such as YouTube and MySpace and preconfigured to work with Twitter and Facebook.

Users can also record and share video or stills - the LX has a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash - and a browser.

More than a million people use current versions of the Sidekick, and 75 percent of them are using the devices to check social media sites at least once a week, according to T-Mobile.

But the device could end up appealing to an older demographic - namely mobile workers - after T-Mobile adds Exchange Active Sync via a download "shortly" after the May 13 launch.

The LX is also the first Danger phone developed entirely since the Palo Alto-based mobile company was acquired by Microsoft in February 2008. The original Sidekick was Danger's marquee product.

Microsoft isn't any more prominent on the device than YouTube, although one button on the carousel menu is a Live location search that uses the phone's GPS radio to show what's nearby.

I spent a little time trying out a demo unit that Leslie Grandy showed at T-Mobile. The screen looks good - though not as bright as an OLED display - and the device feels solid. I'm especially partial to the keyboard, but I didn't spend enough time to get the hang of the Sidekick's controls and shortcuts.

T-Mobile's selling the LX for $199 after rebate and with a two-year contract. It's taking pre-orders starting Friday.

Here's the feature list:

Integrated social networking application bundle includes Facebook, MySpace and Twitter
High-speed Web browsing with 3G support
Built-in GPS support with Live Search
3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash
Ability to record, play and share videos
Share recorded videos via e-mail and upload videos to social networking sites
Watch videos on YouTube via the web browser or on MySpace
Carbon or orchid finish
Music player with streaming audio and streaming RTSP video
3.2-inch F-WVGA screen with high-definition LCD technology with 854x480 resolution
Support for personal e-mail, SMS, MMS, instant messaging (IM)
Built-in IM clients include AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger
Iconic swivel design and full QWERTY keyboard (manufactured by Sharp)
Intuitive user interface with Quick Find to search across all applications
Network Address Book
Included 1GB microSD memory card
Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP supports stereo Bluetooth and Bluetooth file transfer to other Bluetooth devices including photo printers
Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches; 5.7 ounces
Quad-band GSM world phone (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
Dual-band UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850/1700/2100 - AWS Bands 1, IV, V)
1250 mAh Lithium Ion battery
Battery: 3G -- 3 hours talk time, 6 days standby; 2G -- 5.5 hours talk time, 8 days standby

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