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printed April 19, 2014
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Review: Samsung Sidekick 4G

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The Sidekick 4G supports the usual spate of messaging features with a few new twists added for good measure.

The first, and most useful, new addition is the universal composer. Pull down the notification shade, and at the top is the universal composer. It lets you write in some text, and then send it wherever you want, such as to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace. You can send status updates to one or all three. It’s too bad you can't use this tool for SMS, too.

The next is Group Text. Group texting allows people to send messages to large groups of people using a single number. For example, I create a group called "Faves" which includes me and my four best buddies. Me and my homies are looking to arrange some plans. I send out a message to the group. They each receive the message, and when they reply, the message is automatically sent to everyone in the group without the need to "reply all." If you have defined groups with which you frequently need to communicate en masse, such as colleagues, this feature makes sense. For friends, however, it can be problematic. If you accidentally say something impolite about someone, for example, the entire group sees it. Also, you can't unsubscribe to all the messages, which means if you're not on an unlimited texting plan, you can rack up a million messages (and lots of extra charges) pretty fast.

The other newb here is Cloud Text. With Cloud Text, T-Mobile is allowing Sidekick 4G owners to send text messages from their laptop, desktop, or tablet computer rather than from their phone. Messages still appear to others as though they came from your number, but it lets you send those missives with a full keyboard at your disposal when, for example, sitting at work. You don't even have to have your phone with you to use Cloud Text.

The rest of the messaging features -- Gmail, email, SMS/MMS, Gtalk -- are old hat for any Android device. The native Facebook and Twitter apps are also available to use separately from the universal composer.

 

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