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T-Mobile launching limited edition D-Wade Sidekick

Carrier continues its series of fashion-focused phones with the first installment from a basketball player. Photos: A Sidekick designed by D-Wade

T-Mobile USA is launching a limited-edition Sidekick 3 phone from Dwyane Wade, one of the NBA's hottest stars.

The Sidekick 3 was originally launched six months ago, and it has featured limited editions from iconic fashion brands such as Juicy Couture, Diane von Furstenberg and hip-hop clothing brand LRG.

It's part of T-Mobile's marketing push of phones as a lifestyle accessory, a concept consumers and other cell phone manufacturers have embraced.

The T-Mobile Sidekick 3, D-Wade Edition, will be available February 21 for $399, or for $299 with a two-year contract. That's $100 more than the other Sidekick 3 phones. The device features a white-and-gold motif chosen by the 25-year-old guard for the Miami Heat.

Wade, who worked with a team of designers, said he picked those colors because he wanted something "Miami-ish," and he said it also reminded him of a Bugatti luxury car he had seen. The No. 3, which he wears on his jersey, is highlighted in gold on the phone's keypad.

The handset has a full QWERTY keyboard for instant messaging, e-mail, Web browsing and text messaging. It uses EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Environment) technology, and it includes a 1.3-megapixel camera, an MP3 player and Bluetooth.

On the back of the phone is a soft-pebble texture, meant to evoke the feel of a basketball, which Wade said he chose to be "something different."

Although it's the first time he's put his stamp on a cell phone, Wade is no stranger to fashion. He designed a shoe with Converse, and he's currently working on a line of basketball warm-ups that will feature his name.

"Basketball is what I love," he said. "But it's fun to get into a room and design something. It's very exciting to see how it looks when it's all coming together."

Wade's hip, marketable luxury lifestyle cachet made him an easy choice for a limited-edition phone, according to Greg Andrews, director of Sidekick marketing for T-Mobile. To capitalize on that, T-Mobile is launching its biggest Sidekick promotional effort yet during the NBA's All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas from February 16 to 18. Among other things, a 26-story poster of Wade's head will be plastered on the side of the Mandalay Bay hotel.