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Danger enhances all-in-one device

SideKick II, to be sold through T-Mobile USA, is finding its voice with consumers.

Start-up company Danger on Wednesday introduced a new version of its wireless all-in-one device, claiming improved cell phone capabilities.

T-Mobile USA will start selling the device, which it will call SideKick II, later this year, according to Danger. The suggested retail price from Danger is $300, but the device is likely to be discounted.

The SideKick II is a combination cell phone and Web-browsing device, on which a number of services and applications can be offered via mobile service providers. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danger currently works with seven carriers in five countries, in addition to T-Mobile in the United States.

A first iteration of the device, which Danger calls Hiptop, was announced earlier this year. For the latest version, Danger engineers have "completely overhauled" the device's antenna and radio to ensure higher voice quality, the company said. They've also made the device 25 percent thinner so that it's easier to use as a phone. They've also added "send" and "end" buttons, which start and stop phone calls. The device also now supports caller identification services that use photos of callers.

"We worked very hard at making this new release more of a phone," a Danger representative said. "We felt it was something we could improve on."

But that didn't stop the company from making improvements to the device's data capabilities, which are its main strength. Now Danger's device, which competes for business alongside devices like the BlackBerry, has an embedded camera with a flash, and it can synchronize with Microsoft contacts, calendars and to-do lists, though not Microsoft Outlook e-mail.

Yahoo Instant Messenger is now also available for free download onto the SideKick II, which comes with AOL Instant Messenger embedded.

Instant messaging has become a significant feature for consumers using devices based on Danger's software. Unlike other wireless-software developers, such as Research In Motion and Good Technology, which focus on business customers, Danger is targeting consumers, many of whom have taken to instant-messaging capabilities.