T-Mobile + HTC + Android + Snapdragon + QWERTY = Sidekick Twist

New details have emerged about T-Mobile’s “Project Emerald”. Initially said to be a “Nexus One-like device”, we now learn that T-Mobile is passing the Sidekick torch to HTC for their next high-end Android phone. T-Mobile customers have long been waiting for a true high-end successor to the G1 and it sounds like this could be the device they were hoping for.

TmoNews is reporting a tip that claims the Sidekick “Twist” will boast “Android 2.1, a 1 GHz Processor (Snapdragon?), with a front facing Camera, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, and 16 GB onboard storage“. I’m quoting their rumored specs exactly so we can break them down.

For the operating system, Android 2.1 with Sense UI is likely. We know Android 2.2 is coming soon, but it might be a couple of months before HTC updates their custom Sense UI. T-Mobile has invested a lot in their own version of Sense (called Espresso) and we already know it’s coming to other devices like the MT3G and Slide.

A 1 GHz processor is no surprise. Every Android phone from HTC with a 1 GHz CPU is using the Qualcomm Snapdragon and that is the best bet. However, T-Mobile is releasing an Android phone with full HSPA+ support sometime this year and that could feature the newer Qualcomm MSM8260. That 1.2 GHz chipset started sampling in late 2009 and was expected to arrive in smartphones this year, but it might be too early for this device.

Front facing cameras are the new trend for high-end Android phones. We finally have the faster networks to support video chat and it’s going to be in a lot of new phones like the Sprint EVO 4G and Samsung Galaxy S.

The 4.3 inch display is the new standard for high-end HTC smartphones. We have seen this on the HD2 and upcoming EVO 4G. Both those devices had TFT displays, but new HTC phones like the Nexus One, Desire, and Legend are now using AMOLED displays. “Super AMOLED” is a marketing term being used by Samsung and they have only gone up to 4 inches, so I’m not sure how that was included with this rumor.

Finally, the 16 GB of onboard storage is sorely needed for high-end Android devices. We finally saw the HTC Incredible ship with 8 GB, but that is still pretty far behind the industry leader iPhone 3G S which offers a 32 GB version.

Overall I would say the rumor is fairly believable. T-Mobile has been late to launch an Android superphone, but no one expected them to just ignore their high-end customers. Speculation suggest the Sidekick Twist will launch this summer, which is the same time AT&T and Sprint will have their 1 GHz offerings.

It almost sounds to good too be true if you are a T-Mobile customer. Are you satisfied with these rumored specs or are they leaving off some extra feature you had hoped for?

Sidekick LX

The 2009 Sidekick LX from Sharp.


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