In January it was revealed that Samsung would be building the new Android-powered T-Mobile Sidekick devices. Just a couple weeks ago T-Mobile also announced the Sidekick service was being shut down as those legacy devices were being shown out the door to roll out the new Android Sidekick. Today, T-Mobile announced the new T-Mobile Sidekick 4G.
The Sidekick 4G follows the Sidekick Slide form factor with a slide-up display rather than the signature flip-and-swivel display that people associated with the Sidekick brand. I haven't seen it in person, but it sure looks like a rather slick device in the photos with a 3.5 inch touchscreen (a first for a Sidekick) display and spacious five row QWERTY keyboard that should make messaging a breeze. It is powered by the super speedy Samsung 1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor running Android 2.2. There is a 4G HSPA+ 21Mbps wireless radio and front facing camera with Qik for video chat functionality.
Messaging is still the primary focus of the Sidekick brand and with the Sidekick 4G loaded with Group Text and Cloud Text you can easily stay in touch with all of your friends. Facebook and Twitter are preloaded as well as full support for Android apps. Other included apps are YouTube, T-Mobile TV, Slacker Radio, Samsung Media Hub, Qik, Gmail, Google Maps, and more.
Since the Sidekick brand has always been focused on the younger texting crowd, there is a service called DriveSmart that is loaded on the Sidekick 4G. This service helps prevent distracted driving by providing automatic incoming cal and message management that sends notes to callers and senders letting them know the recipient is driving and unavailable. You can get the DriveSmart Plus service too, which gives parents advanced controls and has the service activate automatically (rather than manual activation).
T-Mobile stated the device will be available later this spring in matte black and pearl magenta, but no pricing or service fee information was provided. Samsung makes some great Android devices and this looks like it might be quite appealing to the messaging focused crowd that is also moving into the smartphone world.