Nearly a week after what started out as a service disruption, a few users of T-Mobile’s Sidekick device are reporting that personal data feared lost forever in a back-end server failure appears to be restored.
That’s encouraging news for many others who are still waiting for today’s promised update from T-Mobile about the status of their data, stored on servers run by Microsoft’s Danger subsidiary, the original creator of the device. Those who have discovered restored data are busy saving it to what they have available: their onboard SIM card.
[ The Sidekick fiasco has highlighted the need for mobile backups. ]
"I was just on my phone and when I got off my phone all my contacts returned," wrote tommyd2107 this morning. "I do not know if this will last for long but the [sight] of my contacts returning is encouraging." He had begun last night manually importing his contact data into his Sidekick. "[T]hen today when I went out on my phone and after I hung up the rest of my contacts came back."
In one response, Dariahna wrote, "The same thing happened to me...I shut my phone off several times without removing the battery...voila! My contacts returned!" Another frustrated but relieved user, Generalblue, reported his phone had frozen completely. He took out the Sidekick’s battery and replaced it (a common step for users in restarting their phone). "Once my phone was on about 5 minutes later I checked my address book for some reason and they were all there. I saved all my contacts to my simcard."
How widespread these experiences are is impossible to determine yet. Some seem to be users who did not disable their phone by removing and then reinstalling the battery, so keeping local data intact. But others, as the above examples show, did exactly that.
And there remain plenty of complaints and frustrations and sheer rage boiled down into terse posts. "This outage I was all fine about at first but now it is just to[o] much," posted Siber54. "I mean the sidekick does not even have a mass contact save Option. The user has to save them one by one. If I do stay with the sidekick I would like to see options to save all on SD [cards] because a SIM can only hold around 250..I have lost business and meetings from this outage and I am not happy."
T-Mobile offers two Sidekick models, both of which are now labeled "temporarily out of stock." That label was already sparked speculation that the carrier is killing the product line.
T-Mobile is offering all affected users one month of free data service. But for some users at least, that offer doesn't address the larger accountability issues that carrier should acknowledge. "I'm thinking about the BUSINESS I RUN on my phone that I pay THEM to stabilize and secure...which they've failed to do," writes ArcadianSky in a T-Mobile forum post earlier today. "I have to pay salaries, I have to pay bills and I have expenses... I've done my part in paying them to secure my business and business contacts for me. They've failed. They should pay for that in more ways than one."