T-Mobile has announced that it will stop offering its youth-oriented Sidekick phone from Microsoft. The news comes as Microsoft and Verizon Wireless discontinued the Kin social phones. Microsoft says it is moving resources from Kin and presumably Sidekick to focus on the Windows Phone 7 series. T-Mobile promised “exciting updates” to come.
As Microsoft Relevant Products/Services shifts resources to bolster its wobbly stake in the smartphone market, T-Mobile announced on Friday that it’s taking a break from the youth-oriented Sidekick phones. The Sidekick, with its groundbreaking slide-out keyboard for texting, became a Microsoft stepchild in 2008 when the software giant bought Danger, which makes the phones with Sharp.
The carrier announced in an online forum for the eight-year-old Sidekick that the LX and 2008 models will no longer be available through its channels. But support Relevant Products/Services will still be available, and the name Sidekick won’t fade away.
Watch This Space
“While we work on the next chapter of our storied Sidekick franchise, T-Mobile will continue to provide our loyal Sidekick customers with product service Relevant Products/Services and support,” the announcement said. “Stay tuned for exciting updates in the months ahead, which we expect will provide customers with a new and fresh experience.”
The announcement came two days after Microsoft announced that the Kin phones it debuted in April through Verizon Wireless would be discontinued after just seven weeks on the market. The Kin phones, with their social media and simple media-sharing features, were largely patterned after the Sidekicks, which suffered some bad publicity last fall when a server Relevant Products/Services crash caused many users to lose data Relevant Products/Services.
Microsoft said it is focusing its efforts on the upcoming Windows Relevant Products/Services Phone 7 Series, a brand-new operating system unveiled by CEO Steve Ballmer at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona in February.
The Kins and Sidekicks are “victims of a crowded marketplace,” said analyst Gerry Purdy of MobilTrax. “I think it was just a matter of looking at internal resources and mobility Relevant Products/Services and seeing the best chance to succeed is the Windows Phone 7 Series. It has more development, a wider audience, more partners signed into it. They made a judgment there were not enough sales to keep [the Kin] going.”
Last, Best Hope?
Microsoft lost two percent of its U.S. smartphone market share in the first quarter, compared to the previous quarter, according to a June survey by Nielsen. Its earlier standing was 21 percent, in third place after Apple’s iPhone OS and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry operating system.
The rebranded Windows Phone 7 Series, formerly called Windows Mobile, is Microsoft’s biggest chance for a rebound in the wireless industry, Purdy said.
“Everyone who has seen it says it looks promising,” the analyst noted. “It is a well-thought-out mobile Relevant Products/Services platform. They are not trying to cram the desktop Relevant Products/Services Windows into a phone. It’s a rich platform on a par with RIM and Android and iOS 4. If they get some partners to build good products, they’ll have a good chance. We’ll see in the fourth quarter.