Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Clockwork Pink: T-Mobile Kickstarts Sidekick Sales Again

Jason Lackey

After the recent, well publicized failure of the T-Mo/Sidekick/Danger/Microsoft cloud , T-Mobile suspended sales of the popular Sidekick and Sidekick LX advanced featurephones. Understandable move.

Operators want (perhaps need) to be able to control their destinies and one of the best ways to do that is to own and manage the infrastructure that their businesses depend on. Some wireless operators, such as Sprint, have been a bit more optimistic with regards to leaving their fate in the hands of others, but generally the guys who are serious about the subscriber experience want to have all the variables under their immediate and direct control. Of course, in some ways this makes the iPhone a bit of a slippery slope offering (ending in the land of dumb pipes) from the snake in the garden of Eden as so much of the end user experience is controlled by Apple, but then again there are some who would say that for the most part the portions of iPhone end user experience that actually work would be those controlled by Apple and not AT&T, but that is another story.

Which brings us back to T-Mobile. We have seen that Microsoft has been less than a fully trustworthy partner in the mobile space first by the existance of the Pink effort, which effectively betrayed more or less every ally and friend they had amongst the handset makers, timed when faith in WinMo to deliver with 6.5 being a somewhat lame partial reskin and 7.0 delayed until late next year (perhaps far enough in the future to no longer matter, much like the post comet-strike plans of a diplodocus on the Yucatan Peninsula). Then the whole thing was topped off by the final betrayal of their last friend, Sharp, who was going to make the Pink device. An amazing display of self-immolation unlikely to be matched again any time soon.

So, after all this T-Mobile kickstarts sales of the Sidekick devices again. It is certainly nice to see such loyalty in these times, particularly when so much reputation is at stake. I like T-Mobile, they remind me of Virgin or Southwest, a plucky competitor that "gets it" and tries harder. Their support people are great and actually seem to be alive, engaged and care that your phone works. Just somehow I cannot quite purge the scene from Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange when Alex has booted Dim into the water and feigning the offering of a helping hand to pull the flailing Dim out of the drink, instead slashed his hand with a knife.
Viddy well, droogies, viddy well.

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