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T-Mobile Sidekick Reviewed

CmdrTaco posted about 12 years ago | from the hardware-to-lust-after dept.

Hardware 249

I'm nothing if not a toy junky, and when Danger sent me at long last, a review unit of their excellent little HoTop PDA/Cellphone, now known as the T-Mobile Sidekick. I jumped at the chance to get into the thing and get my opinions out there.

First up, lets talk about the form factor. This unit is much more comparable in size to my Nokia 5560 than a Palm 5 or Clie. About the same length,a little thicker, and maybe half again the width. You'll find it a little thicker than a Palm 5, but also a bit narrower. What really makes the unit stand out is that its screen does this sweet little flip thing to reveal a thumb keyboard that is actually usable.

The interface is usually a little wheel (which can be clicked as a button as well), a 'Back' button, a jump button, and a menu button. When the screen is flipped out, you have a keyboard as well. The interface largely revolves around a sort of spinning menu which quickly rotates to select your application (Calandering, Photos, Phone Calls, etc). It's surprisingly usable, but I did notice a few glitches- for example when trying to mail a picture, I couldn't return and send the picture... I ended up having to actually go to the pictures, and choose mail picture instead of writing an email and attaching it there.

I might as well mention it: the little $30 camera attachment is just a novelty. Its postage stamp sized pictures are amusing, but practically worthless. Thats probably fine with just 16 megs of memory on board anyway- you wouldn't have room to store a nice 1024x768 image anyway... I think it was more proof-of-concept in this model. And the concept works, so with any luck, a year or 2 will give us a HipTop with more memory and higher res.

The screen itself warrants mention. First off, it is a 16 scale of grey, backlit job that really looks quite stunning. Without going to a color screen, this is quite simply the nicest looking screen I've seen on a handheld.

I found the cel phone functionality to be quite usable. Rings have custom tones, and the sound is that multichannel stuff that sounds really silly thats all the rage with the kids these days. You can use an external ear thingee, or use it in the standard carcinogen position. Reception was fine, but may vary for you depending on how good the GSM network is in your area.

The web browser was also surprisingly functional. Typing in URLs on the built in keyboard is quite quick. Far faster than any graffiti handwriting recognition crap. It rendered the pages I looked at without trouble, although big graphics are quite slow, and requires some scrolling. Slashdot in light mode worked fine.

The PDA functionality is good. Contacts are interconnected with the cell phone functionality. You can use the calandering and TODO tools to keep track of schedules.

The unit also supports POP mail servers. This worked without hitch and was quite nifty. IMAP support would be nicer, but I suspect that it would be horribly slow over the phone's internet connection. There also is IM functionality, but no IRC.

There are a few nifty little games you can play as well. The form factor of the device is fairly similiar to a Gameboy Advanced, and when held in that position, makes a reasonable gaming platform.

Danger says that the phone can auto update itself as new features and bug fixes become available, so hopefully new and exciting features will roll out pleasing users with improved user interface.

Battery life is claimed to be 8 hours in use. I never managed to drain it, although I left it on quite a bit. But its still enough to easily make it through a day or 2 depending on your usage.

The thing to remember is that this thing costs just $200. FOr that you get a fully functional PDA, and Cell phone. You get a good keyboard, a web browser, and a remarkably bright screen. It's a little larger than a cell phone, a little smaller than a PDA. All in all, this is a great combination and one thats easy to recommend, especially at this price. If you have GSM network support in your area, this warrants a serious look. If the next generation adds a color screen, IRC, IMAP support, and maybe shrunk things just a little bit, I think this could truly have the integrated cellphone/pda I've been waiting for. Now if it just had 20 gigs of memory, we'd be all set. Course my fingers aren't crossed.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381679)

Water, Water, Water....!

Let me tell you a story about my cell phone (0, Troll)

vlag (552656) | about 12 years ago | (#4381690)

and service provider. It's pretty short and goes something like this: Rogers sucks donkey balls. I hope their 5 billion dollar company sinks like a rock.

Slashdot reports trivial Sidekick story: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381748)


while:

NEWS ALERT

Man held by police after shots fired into the air in front of United Nations building.
Details to come.

Respectfully,

Woot

So this is on "permanent review"? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381702)

Just out of curiosity, what is Slashdot's ethics policy on these things? Does it have one?

Re:So this is on "permanent review"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381733)

If they had an ethics policy they wouldn't spend most of their day jerking off to kiddie pron now would they?

Regards, l33t j03

Yes, Goats (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381705)

I have been waiting patienetly for a goat review. Where is it? I sent Taco a goat to fuck six weeks ago!

Re:Yes, Goats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382164)

Timmah! and Michael got it and fucked to poor thing to death with Katz's 16" barbed, black jelly dong. Took it several hours to bleed out.

good evning (-1)

stallo (575157) | about 12 years ago | (#4381707)

is liunx realy THAT gay?

Again ?? (-1, Troll)

theirpuppet (133526) | about 12 years ago | (#4381709)

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/08/14/154421 5&mode=thread&tid=100

ring a bell CmdrTaco?

this lame. the same story, the same guy posts it. is slashdot having this many problems?

Re:Again ?? (3, Informative)

coug_ (63333) | about 12 years ago | (#4381809)

Uh.. it's the same gadget, but this is actually Rob (CmdrTaco) reviewing it not a link to someone else's review of the unit. That's why it's listed as a "Feature" rather than a normal news article (which typically has a link that is being referenced).

Re:Again ?? (1, Offtopic)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 12 years ago | (#4381825)

The difference being this is a review of the device. By your friendly Slashdot founder, no less.

Re:Again ?? (2)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | about 12 years ago | (#4381857)

here's that link [slashdot.org] for the lazy.

repeats are a serious problem here, and would have to be hammered out before a user can be expected to pay a subscription. this could be Slashdot's downfall.

Re:Again ?? (2)

billstr78 (535271) | about 12 years ago | (#4381968)

I dont' think repeats are a serious downfall. If you have already read about it.. SKIP IT. I am getting a little tired of _every_ single new wireless device getting covered on the front page however. Is this really burning news that every geek must know. Most of the people who read this site already have 1year contracts they are locked into anyway. If I want to shop for wireless phones I would go to amazon.com. sheez.

Re:Again ?? (1, Funny)

You Are A Dumbass (547137) | about 12 years ago | (#4381888)

Wow, you're a dumbass!

This is CmdrTaco's review, as opposed to some other fucker's review, which you are referring to.

If you looked closely (which you did not) you would have noticed that CmdrTaco commented on this very subject [slashdot.org] just two days ago. I quote: "I have a review unit on my desk, and am super impressed. A larger impression piece will be coming out just as soon as I have time to write it."

Re:Again ?? (1)

theirpuppet (133526) | about 12 years ago | (#4382173)

I admit that I didn't look so closely as to notice something in the middle of thousands of posts. wow. i must suck. maybe i just don't have that much time on my hands.

Re:Again ?? - Not a troll (0, Offtopic)

theirpuppet (133526) | about 12 years ago | (#4382143)

Whomever marked me as a troll is a loser. You obviously have nothing better to do in your life than defend someone's forgetfullness.

You're the troll if there ever was one. You and the Natalie Portman weirdos.

Buy a treo instead (2, Interesting)

Mastedon (156598) | about 12 years ago | (#4381715)

My handspring treo kicks ass. Best form factor out there, palmOS, color. Choice of tmobile, cingular, or sprintpcs as carrier.

I highly recommend it for anybody looking to consolidate pda and cell phone.

Re:Buy a treo instead (0)

Nuge (572497) | about 12 years ago | (#4381817)

I would love to see your phone bill if you use the data at all.

Re:Buy a treo instead (3, Informative)

ShavenYak (252902) | about 12 years ago | (#4381851)

I have a Visor Prism + Visorphone on T-mobile (the wireless company formerly known as Voicestream (the wireless company formerly known as Powertel)). I use the Visorphone's built-in modem to dial a free ISP, and get charged just the regular per-minute rate. Since my wife and I are on the family plan and share 800 minutes, it's not even an issue. Granted, I'm obviously not downloading the latest RedHat iso's, but it's fine for checking stocks, sports scores, weather, and such.

I'm not sure what the GPRS data packages for the Treo cost, but if they're too high plain-old dialup should work fine on it as well.

Re:Buy a treo instead (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382038)

the promised GPRS for the treo 270 and
cingular has yet to materialise, but yes,
it works dandy with a dialup.

but watch out, cingular likes to charge
for all sorts of wacky things... any charges
you see that you don't like, just take 10
minutes to make a phone call and they back down
instantly.

I have had to complain about $50 in inexplicable
charges in 3 months of use of the treo 270
and cingular wireless service.

caveat, emptor!

Wha?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381719)

Good God, I know it has all been said before, but for the love of Jehovah, get someone to edit your posts!!!

It's like Engrish, only worse, coming from someone who allegedly speaks English as their first language...

Re:Wha?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382113)

You are 100% correct. It's a pity you were knocked down to -1 for speaking the truth. Taco, that opening paragraph sucks ass. You need to go back and learn how to use the comma.

Wow (1)

Hrshgn (595514) | about 12 years ago | (#4381728)

I immediately have to buy some stocks of this company ;-)

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382152)

Stock is like deer, beer, and fish. The plural is the same as the singular. You also buy stock "in" a company not "of". The phrase your were looking for is "purchase stock in this company."

Check out PA (1)

SmoothOperator (300942) | about 12 years ago | (#4381729)

Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] has the usual take on things.

Re:Check out PA (1, Offtopic)

unicron (20286) | about 12 years ago | (#4381791)

Yeah, it's bascially the slashdot article, but add the word "fuck" a few dozen times and a phrase "knob-slobbing corporate fucktards" for good measure.

Camera does have a function... (4, Informative)

Frank of Earth (126705) | about 12 years ago | (#4381730)

might as well mention it: the little $30 camera attachment is just a novelty. Its postage stamp sized pictures are amusing, but practically worthless

From what I read, you can use the camera to take pictures of your friends and families and then associate that picture to caller id. After setting it up, when you receive a call, it will show the person's face.

Albeit, 30 bucks seems a little much for crappy pictures and you probably can just import your own picture.

One thing I really do like about the sidekick is the service plan which is flat rate, unlimited usage. The treo plans are all pay per meg.

Read fine print (1)

Scyber (539694) | about 12 years ago | (#4381991)

Unlimited downloads is only for the first year. After that it becomes 15MB/month and $3.50 each additional MB.

Re:Read fine print (4, Informative)

Frank of Earth (126705) | about 12 years ago | (#4382064)

After reading some more of the fine print, I also noticed that the camera attachment is free.

Re:Read fine print (2)

uradu (10768) | about 12 years ago | (#4382109)

Still, even 15MB/month isn't bad given the data volume you're likely to transmit on this thing. Most likely email with occasional Googling and quick /. refreshers. Many news sites nowadays have a light mode, so you should be able to stay well within the 15MB.

How's the shielding? (-1, Troll)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | about 12 years ago | (#4381746)

Significant new facts are coming to light in regards to cancer-causing radiation from cellphones. These facts are turning out to be difficult to dispute because of the high integrity and completeness of the scientists and their research. Even some mobile companies are starting to rethink their position on what have become known as "handheld nukes".

So, while I would love to have an integrated PDA/cellphone, I have to ask first: How safe is it?

Re:How's the shielding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381796)

Odd, I just recently saw a story (here?) that claimed that the studies of EMF-caused tumors were invalid. Can you point out any second-generation studies that support EMF-caused tumors?

Re:How's the shielding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381967)

how is the parent a troll? i too wondered the same thing. why is slashdot gay. what happened to ppls emale addresses. i was going to email PhysicsGenuis a pictar of my downsydrome aunt touching her bathroom areas with a handspring visor.

I'm waiting for the PimpTop model (5, Funny)

jakkalsdrif (557405) | about 12 years ago | (#4381747)

"their excellent little HoTop PDA/Cellphone"...Hmm...."HoTop"? I think I want one of these after all. Do I have to go to a seedy part of town to pick one up?

Re:I'm waiting for the PimpTop model (3, Funny)

apg (66778) | about 12 years ago | (#4382016)

The real question is: How easy is it to connect your HoTop to your laptop, and do they charge you extra for that?

Can you connect two HoTops directly and just watch?

Re:I'm waiting for the PimpTop model (3, Funny)

unicron (20286) | about 12 years ago | (#4382112)

And will my HoTop get mad if I interface with other HoTops? I love my HoTop, but it has to know that many HoTops love me as well, and I need to be fair.

Re:I'm waiting for the PimpTop model (0, Troll)

dracken (453199) | about 12 years ago | (#4382179)

This might be interpreted as slander, and just as this article pointed out

"Robert Novak is representing himself in this lawsuit, and thus it is effectively costing him nothing to persue this campaign of harassment."

Danger might persue a campaign of harrassment against you.

Not available in the UK yet (4, Informative)

Mwongozi (176765) | about 12 years ago | (#4381751)

Although I've heard it will soon(?) be available on Orange [orange.co.uk] .

My solution is currently an iPAQ H3970 [compaq.com] talking to a Nokia 6310i [nokia.com] via bluetooth. I can leave the phone in my backpack and send and receive e-mail, SMS, surf the web, even connect to IRC on my iPAQ. Pretty sweet.

Re:Not available in the UK yet (0)

LinuxFreakus (613194) | about 12 years ago | (#4382184)

My solution is currently an iPAQ H3970 [compaq.com] talking to a Nokia 6310i [nokia.com] via bluetooth.

yes, this is the type of solution I would prefer... a small ear piece or phone wirelessly interfaced to a pda. i can't stand holding a huge box up to my face while talking on the phone, it makes me look like a dork (well, i am a dork, but that doesn't mean i have to advertise it while i walk down the street). A little pricey at the moment though... i'm not sure i'd use it enough to be worth the cost.

Sounds like a nifty toy... (1)

Chastitina (253566) | about 12 years ago | (#4381764)

... and for a chunk less than I paid for my then-topline "Beam Me Up Scotty" model Motorola a couple of years ago. It looks a little awkward for use as a cell phone (I prefer flip-open models) and a little small for a PDA, but I'd definitely be interested when mine finally breaks.

For starters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381765)

HoTop PDA/Cellphone

It's called the HipTop -- you can't even get the name right of the product you're reviewing?

Does it do ssh? (4, Interesting)

geekd (14774) | about 12 years ago | (#4381774)

My main use for "internet anywhere" would be ssh. I am on call 1 week out of 6, and if there's a problem, I need to log into the server(s) affected and fix it.

Plus, with a remote term, you can basically do anything a unix box can do.

Anybody know if it can do ssh?

For $200, I'd definitly pick one up if it can.

Re:Does it do ssh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381839)

You should get a Zaurus.

Re:Does it do ssh? (4, Informative)

slothdog (3329) | about 12 years ago | (#4381906)

There currently aren't any SSH utilities for the Hiptop. Given that it lacks a "|" key, it'd be tricky to get some stuff done that way anyway.

Re:Does it do ssh? (4, Informative)

jimmcq (88033) | about 12 years ago | (#4382096)

Given that it lacks a "|" key, it'd be tricky to get some stuff done that way anyway

Use can still use a pipe "|" even if its not on the keyboard... Check the Danger Info Forums [dangerinfo.com] to see how.

Unlikely (5, Informative)

KnightStalker (1929) | about 12 years ago | (#4381960)

To my knowledge, all internet transactions, including SSL, are proxied, cached, and even rewritten through T-Mobile's servers. Sort of an institutionalized man-in-the-middle attack. Even if SSH were possible, I wouldn't use it under those conditions. But I think you're limited to the protocols they explicitly support.

Re:Does it do ssh? (1, Offtopic)

msheppard (150231) | about 12 years ago | (#4382072)

Do you mean ssh like the doors in star trek? I agree, the best use for internet anywhere would be the 'ssh' sound working on every door you go through.

M@

Re:Does it do ssh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382119)

The fellow who sits near me at work who also does some contract work for Danger says that there is an internal ssh application but it is not public and it's not clear if it's releaseable or when. So the answer is yes and no. And don't hold your breath.

Something to note... (3, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#4381784)

First of all Circuit City has a $100 rebate on it atm, but something to note:

After 1 year, the 'unlimited internet' becomes something like $30 for 15MB a month. Good luck breaking your browsing habits after a year.

Re:Something to note... (1)

slothdog (3329) | about 12 years ago | (#4381877)

Make that CompUSA. They're the only authorized retailer other than T-Mobile themselves.

Re:Something to note... (1)

avi4now (567861) | about 12 years ago | (#4381912)

Can we get a URL? I don't see it on their website.

Re:Something to note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381976)

From "rate plan" site:
- After 1st year, unlimited becomes 15MB/month, $3.50/additional MB.

Coverage not available in all areas. Limited time offer and cannot be combined with any other promotions. Credit approval and 12 month service ageement required with $200 fee for early termination. Terms and condidtions include mandatory arbitration provision. Customer billing address must be within and offer valid only in the following T-Mobile (VS) markets: Denver, Colorado Springs, Las Cruces, Portland, Boise, Albequerque, Santa Fe, Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and all VS markets in the following states: Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Incoming and outgoing calls are rounded up and billed in full minute increments from the time the network begins to process the call (before the call rings or is answered) through its termination of the call. All allocated airtime minutes must be used in the month provided and do not carry over.

Re:Something to note... (3, Informative)

slothdog (3329) | about 12 years ago | (#4381989)

There's a $50 T-Mobile rebate [compusarebates.com] and a $100 CompUSA rebate [compusa.com] (good for the activation of any cell phone, if I remember correctly).

Re:Something to note... (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#4382034)

But they both can't be used at the same time (both require the original UPC).

Its slashdotted (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381802)

Here's a mirror [norm.ath.cx]

WARNING!! Don't click that link! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382198)

That link takes you to a goatse re-direct. MOD DOWN!

Re:Its slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382201)

Nice try... the .cx domain gives it away, dipwad.

It doesn't sync (5, Informative)

Devlin-du-GEnie (512506) | about 12 years ago | (#4381814)

I love the look and user interface.

Beware, though. It acts like a PDA, but it's missing a vital piece of functionality. There's no way to share information with other devices. Sidekick gives you a calendar all right, but you can't sync it with your desktop. Ditto for the ToDo and Address Book.

I'm waiting till it plays nice with other hardware before I plunk down my money.

Re:It doesn't sync (1)

mikecoon (452979) | about 12 years ago | (#4382029)

According to the T-Mobile website it will sync. This looks like just the ticket for my next phone.

Re:It doesn't sync (5, Informative)

jimmcq (88033) | about 12 years ago | (#4382131)

Pumatech [pumatech.com] has signed an agreement with Danger [danger.com] that will enable users of Hiptop enabled devices to synchronize personal information with desktop applications such as Microsoft Outlook.

IMAP support (4, Informative)

ShavenYak (252902) | about 12 years ago | (#4381815)

The unit also supports POP mail servers. This worked without hitch and was quite nifty. IMAP support would be nicer, but I suspect that it would be horribly slow over the phone's internet connection.

What?!?! Are you on crack?

IMAP is the perfect protocol for email over wireless internet connections. If you think it's horribly slow, you've been using Outlook Express's piss-poor implementation too long.

The huge advantage IMAP brings you is you only have to get the headers of the email. If you want to get the message, you can get the message, otherwise you save it for later. Also, your email sits on the ISP instead of in your phone/PDA/whatever with its limited storage space. It's also possible, IIRC, to download message bodies to read but not download attached files until later. Finally, with IMAP you can read your email on your desktop at home, then refer to it later on your (other device).

If I can't use IMAP, I'd rather use Webmail than POP. Blech.

Re:IMAP support (1)

breadbot (147896) | about 12 years ago | (#4381900)

I thought POP also supported getting just headers. It's less flexible and network-savvy overall, but it should be possible to delete messages without viewing their bodies or attachments. OTOH, I haven't seen a major mail client that implements this ...

Re:IMAP support (3, Insightful)

rot26 (240034) | about 12 years ago | (#4381964)

The huge advantage IMAP brings you is you only have to get the headers of the email. If you want to get the message, you can get the message, otherwise you save it for later

I've never seen a pop server that didn't support this too. It's not that big a deal.

Re:IMAP support (3, Informative)

rplacd (123904) | about 12 years ago | (#4382020)

It's actually a non-standard POP protocol extension -- which pretty much everyone supports. The syntax is

top

If num-lines is 0, you get just the header.

Re:IMAP support (2)

rot26 (240034) | about 12 years ago | (#4382167)

If num-lines is 0, you get just the header.

What's wrong with "top x 1" to get just the header, then do an rset (if you want to)?

This Just in: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381822)

petswarehouse.com [petswarehouse.com] has been /.'ed. Keep up the good work!

Flat Rate? (4, Insightful)

viper21 (16860) | about 12 years ago | (#4381831)

I believe that the flat rate for unlimited megabytes turns back into a flat rate for 15 megabytes/month then 3.50 dollars for 1 additional megabyte after 1 year.

Somebody mentioned this in the LAST article about Danger. Not that you bothered to read it.

Hidden somewhere in the EULA I would suspect ;-)

-S

water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink (3, Interesting)

dubiousmike (558126) | about 12 years ago | (#4381846)

How come Sprint takes so long for cool phones that support their technology to come out?

I know they do eventually, but it sucks to be the last in line for *drool* phones. All of their new ones, I find pretty useless. Great - I can take a picture with a Sprint phone, but can ONLY send it to another Sprint user with one of the newest phones.

Bleh!

Re:water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drin (3, Insightful)

ShavenYak (252902) | about 12 years ago | (#4381905)

Because Sprint didn't want to use GSM like all the other kids on the playground, they had to be different and go with CDMA.

Oh, and the ghost of my English lit teacher asked me to point out that it's "Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink."

Re:water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382065)

because sprint is the worst wireless provider out there (in terms of their business practices - not service to the phones)....

Sprint is actually a very good home longdistance carrier to have - but their erroneous billing practices, and lack of proper contact info - and their non-publishing of *actual* rates on their cell phones make them a very very bad company.

I actually had to threaten legal action - and document in email and write to Michael Finny @ KGO to get them to fix my bill.

Fsck Sprint and all the criminal carriers on the market.

Lets see if T-mobile actually is any different. But I suspect that because they hired that idiot Katherine Zeta Jones - that they are just as dubious in their practices as any other carrier (why? because people like Zeta-Jones dont make people really want to buy a phone - it just shows that the spend excessive amounts of money on a pointless sales person - rather than saving that money. Remember all the dot-coms that spent TONS of money on superbowl advertising? dead. so you should be wary of any company that spends large amounts on advertising while not giving you the real meat of information you need to properly evaluate their offerings. This is why so many carriers get into hot water about fraudulent billing - they rarely put anything in writing for you to hold them to)

Could learn from Psion (1)

aleph+ (99924) | about 12 years ago | (#4381869)

Looks like a nifty device. Gotta love having a keyboard. All it needs now to be the all purpose on-the-go geek tool is an SSH client. Of course if it ran EPOC (the O/S developed and used in Psion PDAs) it would already have that plus an Inform interpreter (for all the adventure games addicts out there) a bunch of games and databases, a macro programming language and all sorts of other good stuff. But it's not based on EPOC *or* on PalmOS so it doesn't. Too bad. When is someone going to come out with a small IP wireless device with a long battery life, a keyboard and an open API? Come on Handspring, you can do it.

It's cute, but... (2, Informative)

mmoncur (229199) | about 12 years ago | (#4381870)

It's cute but without features like Sync, it's just a novelty. And I don't really find tiny keyboards any more practical than phone keypads. The kids will love it.

I'm dreaming of the Kyocera Smartphone 7135 [kyocera-wireless.com] . Full color screen, Palm OS, expansion slot, 3G, and it's barely larger than my Startac. NICE!

Multichannel or polyphonic? (2, Funny)

no_opinion (148098) | about 12 years ago | (#4381886)

Rings have custom tones, and the sound is that multichannel stuff that sounds really silly thats all the rage with the kids these days.

Umm... does it come with all 5 speakers and the subwoofer? ;-)

Aerial/VoiceStream/T-Mobile == best bang for buck (2, Informative)

plasticquart (75467) | about 12 years ago | (#4381889)

I've been with them for a while... but my current plan is 3000 anytime-minutes for $60 per month. Yea, ATT has an unlimited promotion going-on, but I've never come close to using my 3000 minutes... and I've essentially replaced my land-line w/ my cell phone.

Unlimited nights/weekends and free long distance if I call from anywhere within a 4 state "Home" area. Yea, their coverage might be spotty (whose isn't?), and I've had a couple of billing issues over the 3 years I've been with em... but this plan speaks for itself.

Compared with the best plans offered by Sprint PCS (250 anytime minutes?!? hahahaahaa), Verizon, AT&T Mobile and Cingular (what is there new thing? oh, your minutes rollover!?! hahahahaa) -- my current run with T-Mobile will last for a few months more.

Anyone else with a plan I should know about?

Whose coverage isn't spotty? (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 12 years ago | (#4382157)

Verizon and AT&T. Both have excellent coverage.

Sprint's coverage is pretty skimpy, but even they are far ahead of T-Mobile (formerly Voicestream)

Good luck when you leave the highway.

Re:Aerial/VoiceStream/T-Mobile == best bang for bu (1)

swfranklin (578324) | about 12 years ago | (#4382199)

Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and Cingular all offer dual-mode phones that will roam off their native digital network, even into AMPS (analog) territory. 'New Yawkers' might never leave the big city, but those of us that like to travel have no use for T-Mobile.

GSM in America? (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 12 years ago | (#4381897)

I was under the impression that America didn't use GSM for their mobile networks. Is this still correct? I'm going to Denver on Tuesday so I'll find out then whether my phone will work or not. Can anybody explain?

Re:GSM in America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381926)

Uh, yes there are GSM networks in th eUS. Verizon uses GSM.

--another freakin coward

What are you smoking? (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 12 years ago | (#4382181)

Verizon is CDMA, along with Sprint.

MCI used to have wireless service, but they appear to have disappeared. They were CDMA too.

AT&T and Cingular are TDMA although they're beginning a GSM rollout. (But it's "not there yet")

Voicestream (now T-Mobile) is the only current full-blown GSM provider in the US.

Re:GSM in America? (0)

rplacd (123904) | about 12 years ago | (#4381971)

Certain networks work over GSM at 1900 MHz.
Most of the world uses either 900 or 1800 MHz (new one: 850). Get a triband cell phone and you're set.

Voicestream (T-Mobile) and AT&T do for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381987)

I've been with T-Mobile since it was Aerial, and I've had a GSM phone here in the U.S. for two years.

I went from a Nokia 5690 (I think... I can't remember model numbers for shit) to a Samsung N105 in no time flat. It's keen.

Re:GSM in America? (1)

deceptakahn (525542) | about 12 years ago | (#4381990)

GSM networks at being used in america, but they are not ubiquitous (voicestream's has always been GSM, and AT&T is building one in addition to their current TDMA network) Also, GSM runs on a different frequency here in the US than in Europe, so your phone probably wont work anyway.

GSM but different frequencies (4, Informative)

tempmpi (233132) | about 12 years ago | (#4382011)

There are some GSM networks in the US but they are using other frequencies.(T-Mobil is operating one) GSM networks outside of the US are using frequencies at around 900 Mhz and around 1800 Mhz. US GSM networks are using 1900 Mhz.

You need a so called TriBand GSM phone to be able to use it in USA and in Europe. Most european phones are DualBand phones that support only 900 and 1800 Mhz. You also may need to select 1900 Mhz in the setup of your phone.

Re:GSM in America? (1)

georgewad (154339) | about 12 years ago | (#4382012)

TMobile (formerly Voicestream) is the largest GSM carrier in the US. I think there are carriers in all the metro areas.

Re:GSM in America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382037)

Some networks in the U.S. and Canada are switching to GSM. AT&T/Rogers in Canada, and AT&T in the U.S. are switching to GSM, a long with some others.

If you phone supports the North American GSM frequency it should work in the large population centers. (Pretty much every major city in Canada, not sure about the U.S. now...).

I just aquired a GSM phone. Seems to be as good as my older TDMA phone was for range, etc.

Slap that Ho (0, Redundant)

leviramsey (248057) | about 12 years ago | (#4381916)

...Top!

I think we have a new candidate for comical Taco misspelling of the year...

say wha? (0, Redundant)

slothdog (3329) | about 12 years ago | (#4381927)

The "HoTop"? Mmmmkay. I don't even want to think about what that means.... Try "HipTop".

What an awful review! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381946)

This product has been reviewed countless other times, and all were far superior to this bit of crap. Did you write this in 5 minutes?

What about synchronization with the desktop Taco (there is none)? What about importing contacts (one time only, then you're on your own)? What about the proprietary mail service limitation (POP yes, but only through their server/proxy)? What about the three email account limitation? What about anything important? You have written 5 minutes worth of junior high school crap about a sub-par device.

For crying out loud, the review of this device in the recent edition of Fortune was better than this poop.

Cheaper alternatives... (1)

enachb (557847) | about 12 years ago | (#4381949)

I'm using an Ericsson R380 World [cellular.co.za] . Runs EPOC, calls, syncs, surfs and is only 99$ bucks (without contract).

There are still a bunch of them [ebay.com] on eBay.

/. works (3, Funny)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | about 12 years ago | (#4381953)

"...Slashdot in light mode worked fine"

That's it - I'm getting one!

web development for handhelds (2, Interesting)

X_Caffeine (451624) | about 12 years ago | (#4381980)

If T-Mobile wants their built-in web browser to be useful, they're going to have to provide some way for web developers to test out their pages on the devices. A few emulators for non-computer browsers exist (WebTV springs to mind), but not nearly enough.

T-Mobile (and Handspring, and Palm, and Nokia, and...) need to get cracking. And developers need to start taking CSS-driven design (with separate stylesheets for SCREEN, PDA, PRINTER, TV etc.) seriously.

It does SYNC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4381998)


It will Sync with Outlook over the web. All you have to do is login to t-mobile's website and enter your username/pass, it grabs outlooks info and will sync it with your sidekick. shhaawwing.

Convergence Should Mean Fewer Devices (2)

shagoth (100818) | about 12 years ago | (#4382039)

Currently, T-Mobile has misfired on this as anything more than a replacement Blackberry. Their website by all accounts doesn't allow the syncing of the calendar and address data, though this will likely be fixed.

Only on plan exists, $39 for unlimited data and 200 anytime voice minutes. I really want to keep my current voice package that I have with T-Mobile since my phone is my business phone, but I really don't want to be adding another device. I want to eliminate them. The Sidekick could be my phone, my pda and a net device, but it's currently only one of those thanks to the single plan. I'd gleefully pay the full $39 to just add the Sidekick to my current plan, but that's not an option yet.

Those of you who can live with the limitations. Enjoy. I'm waiting until T-Mobile gets it together.

T-Mobile's Coverage (or lack there of) (3, Informative)

ispel (266661) | about 12 years ago | (#4382078)

This may be OT, but what good is a cool cellular device if you can't use it most places? T-mobile's coverage is pathetic. If you look at their coverage map [t-mobile.com] , you'll see a broken spider web of purple blotches across the US. Their website doesn't make it very clear that their service offers *no* coverage outside these splotches. If I go out of town w/a T-Mobile phone or neato Sidekick, its highly likely that I won't be able to call for help or SSH into my box in an emergency :(

how's their coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382089)

Did they have to build a network from scratch like Sprint, hence having lousy coverage for the next 10 years?

Pictures (0)

Klerck (213193) | about 12 years ago | (#4382122)

Slashdot product reviews lack pictures of the actual item. Consider adding them!

It would be a nice addition, at least.

Why all the excitement? (3)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 12 years ago | (#4382136)

The Kyocera 6035 is PalmOS-based (i.e. you can run PalmOS apps on it, not just whatever Danger has preinstalled for you. This includes Liberty, AvantGo, any of the hundreds of PQAs out there).

The 6035 has been out for well over a year. In fact, it's being phased out in favor of the next-generation 7135, due out in 1-2 months. In the meantime, you can get 6035s *FREE* with a Sprint service activation from OfficeMax. (While I don't like Sprint, at least they're better than T-Mobile - The US GSM footprint is horrendous.)

The 6035's phone/PDA integration is excellent. (Unlike its predecessor the pdQ, which apparently sucked.)

So why the excitement over a device that costs more and does less than the 6035?

No, I don't work for Kyocera or Verizon. Yes, I have a 6035 and LOVE it. Check out http://www.smartphonesource.com/ for more info.

Where the Sidekick model fails to be viable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4382140)

I'm surprised at a few obvious holes that haven't come up in reviews:

* The Sidekick -- by design -- offers no way to sync your PDA data unless you continue to pay $500/year for their service. The moment you stop paying, your PDA becomes worthless. No wonder it's only $200.

* The Sidekick offers no way to take your hundreds of contacts *out* of their proprietary web service. Kiss all your data goodbye when the next Sony Clie comes out.

* I knew a few people with prototypes. They kept breaking anytime you dropped them, perhaps 'cause nobody at Danger knows diddly about designing cell phones. Hopefully the real things are more reliable.

As for me, I'll stick with an open product.

its wonderful (4, Informative)

NotLad (225478) | about 12 years ago | (#4382174)

I bought one of these gadgets the day they came out. I'm here to tell you that it is truly a marvel. After your phone is activated, it displays a setup screen that allows you to create a tmobile username and acount. This has several wonderful advantages. You get an easy to remember email address (username@tmail.com) instead of using the phone number for mail (777-777-7777@tmmobile.com). tmobile.com has a webpage that they call the "desktop interface". this page gives you access to your email, address book, calendar, to do list, notes, and camera applications. This makes it very easy to make a large number of changes on your device (while using a full size keyboard).

I purchased the device thinking that i'd use it mostly for web browsing. I couldn't have been more wrong. The browser is well designed and the interface is easy to use. However, the always on AIM application has proven to be more useful. So far I've spent 90% of my time on the device using AIM, the email client, and the text messaging(not AIM) client. That other 10% was spent using the web browser for looking up words while I was studying a little physics.

having the ability to have dictionary.com, google.com, and always on AIM in my pocket is definitely worth $200 ($39 a month).

I only have two complaints. Tmobile is only offering the device with one service plan. This plan is great for data, but 200 anytime minutes just isn't enough talk time. I decided to pay the extra $5 a month for 500 tmobile to tmobile minutes. My second complaint is the lack of a calculator. I can't believe they didn't put a calculator on this thing. get rid of one of the stupid games and add something useful. hopefully they'll add this later.

Service plans... (1)

Shuasha (564968) | about 12 years ago | (#4382208)

A friend of mine just got one of these.. awesome device!! The only thing keeping me from getting one to replace my regular cell is the service plan (that's right, just one!) that Voicesteam has. $40 a month for 200 anytime minutes and 1000 weekend (NOT night) minutes. If they offered a plan with more minutes for a bit more, I'd jump at it!
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