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AOL Dropping RIM for Danger Sidekick 94

Eponymous Meow Word writes "After trying to cut the cord for wireless e-mail with RIM, AOL is pulling the plug on its mobile communicator, citing a move away from its older wireless technology. The disgruntled can get a discount on a shiny new T-Mobile color Sidekick." Wireless email is a rather small niche, and it's cool that current users won't be left high and dry, but it looks like they'll have to pay some money to continue using the service.
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AOL Dropping RIM for Danger Sidekick

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  • AOL Communicator (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:27AM (#6199269)
    Don't forget about AOL Communicator, the Mozilla-based AOL email client. Hopefully they don't decide to drop this project too, in favor of Microsoft-based solutions. Pushing AOL Communicator would push Gecko onto millions of subscribers' computers, and possibly allow for choice of rendering engine.

    Free pr0n. []
  • i'd never even heard of the device. looks pretty neat if limited.

    my life has never been the same since i got rid of my nokia communicator 9000i. being able to telnet into my server was really neat. i just got sick of carrying a brick around though. any small phones that do ssh now?

    are you a weapon of male destruction? you need one of our snazzy t-shirts []

    • There is port of putty to the P800. Not exactly a small phone but much smaller than what you were carrying before.
    • I have a samsung I330 smartphone which runs palmos. There is a free SSH client available for palm os at:
    • I don't know if it's a brick, and it's Symbian instead of GEOS, but the Nokia 9210 might be good. It's also got a color screen... drool... I need the 9290, because I live in the US, but the 9000i implies you live in Europe or Asia, so a 9210 will do the trick. (Actually, the 9290 is a relabled 9210 with a different GSM signal for the US)
  • *cough* (Score:5, Funny)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:33AM (#6199300) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be great to haul Google out of your pocket at the bar

    No. No, it wouldn't.
  • Makes sense... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowmix ( 10566 ) * <mmarch&gmail,com> on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:34AM (#6199305) Homepage
    Having used both the RIM and currently the SideKick, the SideKick give a user experience that mimics AIM desktop client a lot better than the RIM devices. The SideKick UI, in general, will be much more attractive to AOL users.
    • You're crazy. SideKick provides none of the AOL experience.

      I activate SideKick by pressing the left and right shift keys simultaneously, but the hot keys are configurable. Then I can get a notepad, a phone dialer, a calculator, even and ascii code chart.

      AOL doesn't work anything like that.
      • Aw man, you're *way* too out of date with this joke. Nobody here even remembers Sidekick, or TSRs, or how incredibly cool they could be.

        Of course, the fact that Sidekick will take up lots of your available memory and make your computer periodically crap out or freeze up, and won't play nice with all your other software *does* sort of bring to mind the AOL experience. As I recall.
  • Why a small niche? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:35AM (#6199309)
    Why should wireless email be a small niche? As best I can tell, it's the most useful application of wireless data capabilities. The problem is still in the UI and portability, as best as I can ascertain (well, and the cost). If there were a better way to navigate emails and send emails from a wireless device that wasn't overly bulky, it wouldn't be so niche. I mean, most modern digital cell phones now will let you set up and check email, it's just an excruciating user experience to try to do much of it (and I want to push a single button and get to my damned Inbox, not have to navigate 4 or 5 levels deep in REMARKABLY slow server-side menus like I have to currently with every TMobile phone out there, not to mention the fact that about 30% of the time, one of those menu loads hangs forcing me to restart the whole process). We don't need 3G networks as much as we need some basic thought put into how people really want to use small wireless devices.

    The Sidekick is great, but too bulky for your average Joe. It's too bulky for me too, to be honest, so I just suffer with my otherwise very excellent Samsung S105 cell phone, which nominally lets me monitor incoming emails. The most promising models I've seen are the upcoming SPH-I500 (as in here []) and similar phone-form-factor Palm PDAs, which come very close to what I want. Add one of those newfangled laser-keyboard devices, and you've got a winner IMHO. And PLEASE stop sticking cameras on every phone.

    • Without really good spam filters and category filtering, mobile email is all but useless. I get around 80 emails a day (not counting spam) with all the various lists and groups Iâ(TM)m on. I donâ(TM)t need to get at all of that on my phone, let alone slog through that many messages with a mini UI. I use PopFile to do all the categorizing work for me on a home machine running all the time and have a small amount of that mail forwarded to a separate account I use for the phone. It works great f
    • I have a Sony Ericsson T300 from T-Mobile. You're right about the T-Zones online e-mail features being online useless. (The online AIM is even worse -- did you ever try to have a conversation where it takes you over a minute to send a two-word reply through T-Mobile's horrible interface?) However, the phone has a built-in email client that will connect without going through T-Mobile's menus. You can connect through a dial-up connection. (You can't define your own login script though, so it might not work.)
    • I want to agree with you on your point about manufacturers putting cameras on everything. I have both a SprintPCS phone and a Sidekick with T-Mobile. For AIM and email, the SK is a wonderful little brick. It's got more heft, but it does what it does very well. The keypad is well-executed, as is the functionality when it comes to navigating around the device. However, it absolutely sucks as a phone. Dialing is a chore, and it feels weird against your head. The camera attachment is, for lack of a better term,
    • Because of hackers and free thinkers, email can be dangerous to the company. My god, emails could come from just about anyone! They might even come from someone who is not paying the company a damn penny to send the email! Better yet, my phone only charges for outgoing emails... so a user who uses crontab to send email reminders, procmail to forward interesting words from incoming emails, or a free web-form-email-based pager [] program to get small messages from friends gets all that functionality for free (

    • What is wrong with a camera in the phone? Hell, they've had it in Japan for a few years now IIRC and people seem to love it. I for one would love to have a camera phone.
  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by subreality ( 157447 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:37AM (#6199318)
    Now I'm going to have to buy a fleet of these, to replace our executives' Blackberries, so they won't get pissed off for losing the digital dick-sizing contest at the country club. Oh, how I love technology.
    • This seems to be a common trait of Execs, Marketing and Sales types. The tech types at my company generally could care less as long as their hardware and service cover their needs. Myself, I avoid answering a phone inside the office I'm sure as hell not going to carry a cell phone.
    • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:53AM (#6199383) Homepage
      No one is superior to this guy [].
    • "Now I'm going to have to buy a fleet of these, to replace our executives' Blackberries, so they won't get pissed off for losing the digital dick-sizing contest at the country club."

      And since the Sidekick has a camera on it, they'll have pictures so they can prove who's got the biggest digital dick.

  • by FooGoo ( 98336 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @11:56AM (#6199400)
    When will someone invent a cheap global wireless solution for email. I don't live on land anymore more I live on a sailboat which spends most of the time in the middle of an ocean. Right now I am using sats for my access which is very expensive. I want a global communicator like in the TV show "Earth Final Conflict" I know the tech exists so someone build the damn thing.
  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @12:00PM (#6199415)
    I've always viewed email as asynchronous communication. I answer my emails when I have time, several times a day. If I'm in the middle of something, I don't pay attention to it until I can take a break. But other people don't see it that way, notably my management chain at work. They're already trying to sell me on the idea of one of these things so I can get my email outside work. (WTF for? I carry a cell phone for emergencies. Exactly what kind of a network failure do they think I'm going to fix with email? But I digress.)

    I certainly don't want to discourage the technology, and there are times when I wish I could just drag a decent web browser (NexTel can bite me) out of my pocket. But I'm just afraid that people are going to lose sight of one of the big advantages of email - the fact that it's asynchronous, which is the only way that I can deal with it when I get over a hundred legitimate emails a day. Having my phone ring a hundred times a day will just make me go insane.
    • To me, wireless e-mail is liberating.

      You can still answer your e-mail at your convenience, but now you can do it at the coffee shop. Or sitting on a park bench, you know, outside.

      If your fear is the expectation that your managers want you to answer e-mails immediately when outside the office, I would say that those expectations are the problem, not the technology.

      I rarely answer my cellphone unless the caller ID displays the number of someone I want to talk to right then. Similarly, I don't answe
  • The real reason..... (Score:3, Informative)

    by dracken ( 453199 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @01:00PM (#6199752) Homepage
    ....Why RIM (research in motion's) device is being terminated could be because RIM lost a patent lawsuit [] against NTP. NTP is a patent holding company which claims to hold patents to "sending text data through wireless" or some such sort. NTP was awarded $23 million in damages and has sued again tripling the damages.

    Is this fair ? you ask. Let me remind you about fivolous lawsuits initiated by RIM against palm and handspring [] because RIM claimed to hold a patent which covers attaching a keyboard to a mobile device !!. Handspring and palm decided to settle out of court, paid RIM a wad of money and "licenced" the "technology". Evidently what goes around comes around. :(.
  • by Fizzl ( 209397 )
    Wireless email is a rather small niche

    And for us who mainly browse the web and read home e-mail while walking to work or back from there this seems like a silly statement.
    I use my Nokia Communicator and 3650 regularly to write emails through GSM-data connection or smart messaging relays.

    Oh well.. I guess this AOL thingy has very little to do with my life anyway.
  • its pretty cool cept the fact i cant add software. I guess there are people that have developer SDKs and write software for it, but Danger/t-mobile wont let you load it. sucks too, such a great package, it would be nice to access other IM(yahoo,msn) and ssh, telnet even.
    I will be getting a 7135 if verizon get off there duff anytime soon.
  • by leighklotz ( 192300 ) on Saturday June 14, 2003 @01:15PM (#6199849) Homepage
    By the way, the pent-up upgrades to color devices for existing customers shipped on Friday. Some have already arrived.

  • For you Sprint Vision customers out there, the Hitachi P300 [] (free with activation) has a built in POP3 Email client. Sure the LCD is tiny, but at least you get a no-brainer mobile email solution.
  • I must say it was extremely useful, but lacking important features (at the time I was using it a few years ago) that anyone "cool" enough to own one of these devices needed. Like, for example, a not crappy web browser, and ssh support, and the ability not to crash weekly.

    Oh, and lets not forget the outrageous usage fees, that continue today. If you write somewhat lengthy emails, the device costs about $1 per email (450 words) to use on the cheapest plan. If you're willing to pay $50 a month for email (n
    • I still have one of those horrible devices, because we're required to have it at work. At first, I thought it was really useful, but after a while I grew to think of it as useless, and later just a pain to have.

      The device itself is horrendously overpriced: it's just an embedded 386-based handheld running WinCE. So not only does it not have enough horsepower to do anything besides text messaging, it's running WinCE so it crashes all the time. It's really annoying when you're typing an email and it sponta
  • the main problem is the name.


    so much embarassment.
  • Why is AOL caving in to social norms? There are millions of people who like RIM. They RIM every day almost. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • "Wireless email is a rather small niche"

    I currently live in Germany, where it has become the latest cool thing to be wireless

    Kids that have hardly hit puberty ask for Cell Phones with intergrated Digital Cameras, so they can send pictures to friends in the middle of class, or where ever.
    Meanwhile their parents go into the T-Mobile store and check out the latest phone/wireless devices where they can check e-mail anywhere, or surf the web.

    Anyways, who wants to be in the office reading e-mail, when t
  • It's pretty sweet if your a old AOL user, but wickedly expensive. I use it to write simple (can't spell check or html format) emails and do a ton of instant messaging. Its better for instant messaging then my Treo, since the keys are bigger and the connection is presistent. The battery lasts forever, and the pager network coverage is very good. A great thing for bus/car IM communication. The AOL MC is pretty small, plus built like a tank (well, aganst coffee and soda).

    While that deal for a sidekick looks g
  • Danger is it's middle name.

  • Simple, easy works with pop and imap,, and possible on almost every verizon phone currently sold.

    I have no idea why wireless email would be a small niche. What else have you got to do on the toilet?

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor