Chapter 31 – hiptop Redux

In retrospect the Mobiflip was perhaps an unnecessary splurge. But I had waited so long for my previous carrier to bring the hiptop3 to Canada… can you really blame me?

A lot had changed in the four years since I had last used my Fido hiptop2 full-time. The biggest news was that Danger, the company behind the hiptop/Sidekick line and responsible for its back-end servers, had been bought up by Microsoft. As the hiptop’s cloud sync solution was a competitor to Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access, the hiptop servers were quickly shut down.

This might explain how Mobilicity was able to procure an untold number of second-generation Sidekick LX devices and sell them with its own custom firmware. Unlike my hiptop2 there was no web login for the Mobiflip, nor was the prescient app store anywhere to be found on the device. There was the excellent Opera Mini web browser and a third installment of the bouncing ball game “Bob”, but that was about it.

I knew all of this going in, of course, and could really only justify my hundred-dollar Mobiflip purchase as a curiosity for what could have been. I brought it along with me to a Mobilicity event, hosted by Howard Chui of HowardForums fame. When I plopped it on a table it was greeted with a round of derisive laughter from the other bloggers in attendance. Clearly the hiptop’s day had come and gone.

Its legacy lives on, however. On-device app stores are now, as we know, de rigueur for any device that calls itself a smartphone. And if you didn’t know, Andy Rubin — co-founder and CEO of Danger, Inc. — was also a driving force behind Android in its early days. He remains in charge of the platform at Google, which can only be a good thing.