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A Gadget That Offers Less

It's not often that you see a new version of a tech gadget that markets itself as offering LESS. But T-Mobile is doing just that, stripping away the mp3 player, 1.3 megapixel camera and Bluetooth functionality in the new, lower-priced Sidekick iD.

The Sidekick device is already popular among the young adult crowd, who like the hidden QWERTY keyboard that allows them to tap out text messages and e-mails. T-Mobile calls them "multi-tasking communicators" who prefer using a "phone" to tap out messages more than voice chatting with someone. On average, Sidekick users send or receive more than 3,000 instant messages per month. And they also like to customize the phone, to "bling it out" with jewels, paint and stickers and other customizable tools that make the device unique.

This new device - priced at $99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year commitment - is targeted at the 18- to 24-year-old market, roughly the college-aged crowd that traditionally has some financial constraints but also loves to carry around gadgets.

According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project, 32 percent of teenagers prefer text messaging, instant messaging and email over voice. In addition, 63 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 27 use text messaging - and are having an influence on older audiences as they text to parents and older colleagues (now that they've shifted from the college campus to the corporate campus.) A survey released last month 31percent of cell phone owners ages 28 to 39 use text, as do 18 percent of those 40 to 49, Pew reports.

By Sam Diaz  |  April 13, 2007; 1:30 PM ET  | Category:  Sam Diaz
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