(Contributed to by: Taylor C.,  Zach J., Maria M.)

Technology: Sidekick

Invented By: 3 former Apple employees: Andy Rubin, Matt Hershenson, Joe Britt  [2,7]

Invented When: End of 2000 [4]

Significance: This was the first phone that had the processing power to run mobile internet supported applications, which meant AIM and other messaging apps, even email, could be used on the go. This was also one of the first phones with a full keyboard which was revealed when the screen kicked out.[4] This functionality made texting significantly easier because the number pad did not need to be used anymore.  Additionally, the Sidekick was the only phone of its kind to offer a no-voice, data-only plan. This meant that deaf customers only had to pay for Internet access and not a calling plan they had no use for [6,7]. Later models lit up when the user received a message, email, or social media notification, along with unlimited texting [6,8].

Impact on the Deaf Community: The Sidekick was not invented with deaf people in mind, but the Deaf community benefited from this device because it made texting so much easier with the full keyboard. Now, messages could be typed back and forth to communicate with hearing people. Access to the internet also made things much easier because texting was still not very popular on cell phones in the United States. [6][2] Since the device had connection to the internet, it could be used as a portable tty.[1] It also benefited members of the Deaf who had cochlear implants or hearing aids, because it was compatible with them [1].




[1] Banks, Au.D. Lindsey. “How The Deaf Community Help Shaped Mobile Technology.” Everyday Hearing. N.p., 30 May 2016. Web. 02 May 2017

[2] Erickson, Christine. “A Brief History of Text Messaging.” Mashable. Mashable, 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 02 May 2017.

[3] “Features of New T-Mobile Sidekick Attractive to Deaf Consumers.” Hearing Review. Anthem Systems, 18 Nov. 2009. Web. 02 May 2017

[4]] Hahn, Jason Duaine. “The History of the Sidekick: The Coolest Smartphone of All Time.” Complex. Complex, 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

[5] “Is The Sidekick Now Dead For Good?” Gadget Review. N.p., 03 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 May 2017

[6] “The Evolution of Cell Phone Design Between 1983-2009.” Webdesigner Depot. N.p., 10 June 2013. Web. 02 May 2017.

[7] Welch-Abernathy, Dameon D. “Why The Deaf ❤ T-Mobile”.  The PhoneBoy Blog, 8 Dec. 2007 Web. 02 May 2017


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