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T-Mobile to launch Sidekick device

The wireless carrier plans to announce Tuesday that the highly anticipated device that combines a Web browser with a cell phone is available nationwide, sources say.

Wireless carrier T-Mobile plans to announce Tuesday that the Sidekick, a highly anticipated device that combines a Web browser with a cell phone, is available nationwide, sources close to the product's release said.

As previously reported, Sidekick is the T-Mobile's name for the Danger Hiptop device, which allows consumers to wirelessly surf the Web, send and receive e-mail and chat over AOL Instant Messenger. Danger is a Palo Alto, Calif.-based start-up that develops software and services for wireless carriers.

T-Mobile will sell the Sidekick through its retail and online stores and through CompUSA stores for $199 after a $50 rebate. The monthly service fee is $39.99 for unlimited data minutes, 200 voice minutes and 1,000 weekend minutes. The device will run on T-Mobile's Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and next-generation General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) wireless network.

The device comes with a 2.5-inch backlit monochrome display, full HTML browser and scroll wheel for browsing. The screen slides up to reveal a keyboard. The Sidekick had been delayed, which only built up the enthusiasm for the device.

Unlike wireless devices from other handheld rivals, such as Palm, Handspring and Research In Motion, T-Mobile and Danger are targeting consumers with the Sidekick as opposed to large businesses.

Online fans of the device can participate in an eBay auction with proceeds going to the nonprofit Golden Gate National Parks Association. As of Monday evening, bidding for four Sidekick devices, one-year of free service, two tickets to a T-Mobile sponsored rock event, airfare for anywhere in the United States to San Francisco and a one-night stay had reached $735. The auction ends Oct. 4.