Due for US release next month the Hiptop LX 2009, aka Sidekick, gets a high-tech overhaul with HSDPA 3G, a GPS receiver and a range of social networking clients.
It’s a safe bet that few APCmag readers own a Hiptop handset. By the same token, we reckon many readers’ nieces and nephews would count this minimalist smartphone, better known by its US sobriquet of ‘Sidekick’, as one of their favourite bits of kit.
With its emphasis on rudimentary email and instant messaging, and a QWERTY keypad, the Hiptop has many times been called a BlackBerry for the tweens and teens. It’s also been stuck on the old steam-powered GSM network – which proved sufficient for email and IM chat sessions and allowed Telstra, the Hiptop’s sole Australian agent, to squeeze a little more money from its GSM infrastructure.
But the new LX 2009 Sidekick, which makes its worldwide debut next month through US carrier T-Mobile and could end up in Australia before the year is out, has loftier goals.
The LX 2009 needs to move beyond email and IM into the broader social networking scene, and it needs a better spec set to keep up with the competition.
The new Communities menu group reveals inbuilt clients for Twitter, Facebook and My Space
The LX 2009 is the first Sidekick to support 3G courtesy of an HSDPA 3.6Mbps radio. Also new to the mix is a GPS receiver, 3.2 megapixel camera, a 3.2 inch (854 x 480) screen, Bluetooth 2.0 stereo and a microSD memory card slot.
Inbuilt software now includes clients for Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, with the ability to directly upload photos snapped with the device. The inclusion of 3G also allows the Sidekick to be used for viewing YouTube clips.