Cloud Computing, Hardware, Technology Security

SideKick is alive again, would you buy one?

It all started on October 3 for T-mobile’s SideKick ? check out today’s date. We have chronicled their subscribers? painful data loss and frustration with woefully lacking forth right explanations from everyone involved. Twice promises were made that almost all their data was found. First, on October 16, and again on October 20.

Tuesday, T-mobile sent out a press release saying: "T-Mobile is also pleased to announce that Sidekick sales have resumed. Please visit the Sidekick forums for the latest news."

The news on T-mobile’s Forum website is not quite so upbeat: "Sidekick Photo Recovery/ Sales Resumed – 11-17-09 9:00 A.M. Customers are currently unable to recover photos via My T-Mobile. Sidekick teams are engaged and working to restore this functionality. There is no estimated time of resolution. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.
T-Mobile is also pleased to announce that Sidekick sales have resumed. New pricing for the Sidekick LX 2009 will be $149.99 with a two-year contract and the Sidekick 2008 will be $49.99 with a two-year contract."

This price drop is down from $175, a meager $25 reduction for a two year contract on the SideKick LX 2009. For existing subscribers, there is a $100 rebate card towards purchase of an existing T-Mobile phone. However, nothing has been said about any new data backup procedures. It appears that SideKick subscribers are going to be in the same leaky rowboat they were in before the total collapse of SideKick’s network services and removal from sales by T-Mobile.

Would this reporter recommend getting a SideKick from T-Mobile. Well, maybe. But, only if the subscriber took the time to train themselves on how to back up their SideKick’s data. Not many of the subscribers did that prior to the first of October.

T-Mobile could take a giant step forward if they stepped up to the plate and offered Mark Space Synch ? preferably at only a nominal fee for subscribers. We guess the likelihood of that being on T-Mobile’s marketing agenda is small, to not at all. Not offering local data backup for free is something that could ultimately run the idea of cloud computing to the ground.

Data backup is just like buckling your seat belt before you drive off. Contrary to what many writers and journals have said, the cloud is not the culprit. Every device that holds data is just waiting to fail you, even writing it on a piece of paper and mailing it to yourself isn?t foolproof. Hard drives die, CD and DVD can be broken, and tape backups can loose their format block. The lack of proper data back up is what tripped up the SideKick subscribers, because they really did believe in T-Mobile and Danger’s implicit promise of "don’t worry, we have your data handled."

If any of Sidekick’s existing subscribers hang out large volumes of data, like 650 addresses or megabytes of notes, on the Danger T-Mobile network, they are asking for trouble. This unfortunate situation revealed that Sidekick is a SPOF Network and that it isn’t really reliable for the consumers, yet alone businesses. They really need to think seriously about whether the Sidekick is the best device to use. Various models offer many of the features that Sidekick claims are always functional. Consider T-Mobile?s many Blackberry models, or the Motorola CLIQ, as well as Samsung and Nokia models. The big question is whether T-Mobile has cured the fundamental problem with their handset of a reasonable sized data storage device. The answer to that one is, No. Is it reasonable to say that T-mobile’s Sidekick will never lose your data sometime in the future? That one is really questionable.

Microsoft-Danger has not addressed implementation of procedures to ensure there is no repeat of last month?s lost data. Who in charge at Microsoft-Danger takes personal responsibility for the failure? Is Ms. Roz Ho, VP of Premium Mobile Experiences, or Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, going to stand up and explain how their Danger network is going to work better. We think they both owe it to the T-mobile SideKick subscribers.