I always used to make fun of my friends for clicking away on their T-Mobile Sidekick cell phones in the middle of dinner, work, class, or whenever they had a second to spare. There's just something inanely obnoxious about the sound of that phone swishing open followed by the furious tap-tap-tapping of text messaging. But then my trusty Motorola Razr went kaput (phones don't like concrete much, I guess), and I had to borrow a friend's old Sidekick II. Now, I'm just as annoying as he is.

The first T-Mobile Sidekick, apparently also known as the Danger Hiptop, was released in 2002. And people loved it. It wasn't nearly as grown-up as a Palm Pilot or BlackBerry, but it still had the same-ish functions: full QWERTY keyboard, e-mail, mobile phone, address book, note taking, texting, web browsing, and a vital essential for the American youth of today—AOL Instant Messaging.

The Sidekick's now in its third generation, slightly thinner, with Bluetooth and a camera capable of a higher resolution. There's even a more affordable camera/Bluetooth/MP3-player-less version, the $99 Sidekick iD.

But it's no less off-putting. The phone's come to have the same stigma that's attached to teenaged mall rats with generous parents and privileged Young Hollywood (with generous parents). The scary widespread popularity of pink-Swarovski-crystal-studded Sidekicks with Hello Kitty plush danglies doesn't help much, either.

It's probably safe to say that if you need an Internet-enabled phone with e-mail access, you're probably better off with a BlackBerry. It's kind of difficult to take anyone with a Sidekick seriously. Imagine whipping open a Sidekick in front of a client.

Admittedly, these newfangled phones are incredibly handy—letting us respond to e-mails from the boss whenever and wherever we want. But they're also a frightening reminder of how technology-dependent we've all become. Many BlackBerry users even complain of arthritic “BlackBerry Thumbs,” and some people can even work up to a typing speed of 40 words per minute. (Though I must admit that the easy access to Google has settled an argument or two during a few booze-filled nights out.)

I can't really pinpoint what it is about the Sidekick that I find so personally offensive. Someone so reliant on being “in touch” all the time? It's like somebody who takes their social life far too seriously. Or maybe I'm just writing all this 'cause the boyfriend likes to text message during dinner. You decide.

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