RealTime IT News

Sidekick II Users Can Upgrade Danger

Danger, the mobile software and services company, is set to release a major software upgrade Tuesday for users of the T-Mobile Sidekick II handset.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's client/service infrastructure will perform volume software upgrades Over The Air (OTA).

Sidekick II users will receive a notification that the upgrade is available, and if they click to accept it, the software will download in the background.

Among the new features in the latest software upgrade include an improved browser with JavaScript support, expanded graphics and font support, as well as the ability to conduct keyword Web searches and select and copy text from Web pages.

The addition of JavaScript brings more Web services to the Sidekick II, such as Evite and online banking.

The Sidekick II comes with 32MB of RAM, but a new feature gives a kind of unlimited storage for applications and games.

Users can uninstall programs they don't need when they reach a memory limit. But customer info is stored at Danger's host facility, so customers can reinstall them later without having to pay again because Danger's software knows it's been paid for.

Applications also run in parallel so users can perform a one-click toggle to go from one to another rather than having to load each one as needed.

"The ability to give our users these new features automatically leverages our end-to-end infrastructure," Matt Flegal, spokesperson for Danger, told internetnews.com during a demo of the new software.

The OTA system automatically keeps users connected after service has been interrupted by, say, driving through a tunnel.

"It's an always-on device," said Flegal. "If you go through a tunnel, the messages being sent to you are cued up and you'll get them on the other side."

Last year, Danger added several features for hearing-impaired users, including an amped-up vibration motor that signals when a message has arrived.

Flegal said 5 percent to 10 percent of sales have gone to deaf and hard-of-hearing customers who can use the IM feature to communicate with others.

While mainly a consumer product, Flegal said there have been significant sales to business-oriented niches, such as real estate and the home office.

Danger's biggest customer, T-Mobile, markets to both the U.S. and Germany where the upgrade will also be available. In addition to monthly service charges, T-Mobile offers unlimited data services for $20 per month to access the Web.