I ran into a skater kid on the BART yesterday who was sporting the newest Sidekick. I peered over with envy. He told me it was fucking rad and that a friend of his worked at T-mobile and snagged him one before it came out.
I keep seeing kids wearing their sidekicks around their neck on chains. At the X-Games this summer, there were tons of sidekicks. The Hiptop is definitely appealing to the hip-hop youth crowd. And for good reason.
First, look at the device. It looks like a gaming device. It says: you will use me for play and textual communication. Forget the phone – who talks on the phone anyhow? Certainly not you… you don’t want to shove a piece of toast up against your ear now do you? And besides, if you want to talk, you’ll use an earpiece.
Next, look at the interface. There are no horrible menus, no poorly named programs. It’s simple: scroll on the right and find everything you need. AIM is obvious. Email is obvious. SMS is obvious. Everything you need with simple scrolls. The feedback mechanism is purrfect – little icons in the upper corner no matter what screen you’re on. And if you’re away from the device, it’ll buzz for certain messages and turn pretty colors for others. Feedback. Constant feedback.
Three things would make it beyond perfect for me: a longer battery, a retractable ear piece (i always forget mine) and the ability to add programs to the ones available. I hear synching is improved with the latest version, but i haven’t tried it out. That was previously on my list.
But the fact is that using the Sidekick makes me feel like a subculture kid. And even as the mainstream kids are picking up on them, only a few adults are. Adults don’t get the importance of text, particularly AIM text. And the Sidekick understands that American kids are mostly on AIM and it’s a central feature, not a pain in the ass add-on. This is what texting looks like in the States. Turning AIM texting into a gameboy and voila!