March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 07.14.05

For Every Hero there is a SideKick

From Robin to Dr. Watson, every great hero has a sidekick in tow, to ready the Batmobile, or save our hero from danger. Iíve always figured that for a regular guy to really pull himself up to the level of hero, finding a trusty sidekick is a good start. So after many months of waiting, I got my SideKick II in the mail and felt instantly better equipped to fight crime. Or at least receive every e-mail and phone call it might take to fight crime.
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By Teresa von Fuchs




The T-mobile–branded SideKick is a phone/PDA/e-mail super tool, with a signature flip screen (tap on corner and it does this lightning swift swivel move to reveal a full-sized Qwerty keyboard). Hailing from Palo Alto’s Danger as the HipTop2, with the 2 standing for an integrated VGA camera with LED flash, photo caller ID, enhanced address book features with support for vCards, SMS enhancements and Yahoo! Messenger. This hip handheld is marketed solely as a consumer device, but as far as e-mail, messaging and PIM organization go, this is a solid, if not heroic, all-in-one device. It’s a bit bulky compared to some of the slicker, business-oriented devices I’ve seen (version 2 at 25 percent thinner is still 0.9 inches thick, in a 5- by 2.5-inch bar style), but at a price point that’s often free with a service contract and already includes easy to use, seamless e-mail capabilities, I don’t know a sales guy that wouldn’t want the HipTop for his Chewbacca.

I managed to set up the e-mail app to send and receive e-mail from my Mobile Enterprise address in about three minutes; every sidekick also comes with your own T-Mobile address. Directions claimed to be as simple to set up other POP3 and IMAP accounts, but I never managed to get my Yahoo! Mail. I was able to use the browser regularly enough though to check Yahoo!’s mobile page for e-mail, movie times, flight info, directions and the like. I also never had a problem with coverage. Even visiting my sister in remote Eastern Washington, where the speakerphone made getting lost in the desert much easier to drive and navigate, I never lost a signal.

Plus, as the Paris Hilton Scandal made clear, you can manage all your sidekick data from a handy Web-based application, so you can view everything on your device on the Web, and it synchronizes automatically over the air. Bye-bye cradles and cables. Danger also partnered with Intellisync last year to offer better synchronization between its platform and Microsoft Outlook. Being a Mac user, I didn’t take advantage of that particular feature, but another neat California-based company, Mark Space, just recently released its missing sync application for the HipTop, meaning easy over-the-air synchronization between iCal and Address Book with the use of the handy iSync tool. I’ve used other Mac fix applications and this one was delightfully simple. Though not yet available, I’d wager Entourage capability is on its way.

And just like the fact that our love of every hero is based pretty heavily on his or her gimmick (and get up), I just never got over that swivel screen.
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