A big part of the new Sidekick 4G's appeal are its slick messaging abilities. One of them is Group Texting, a feature that lets users create groups on the fly and share pictures, location, and other data with each other via text message. A tad quirky at launch, an updated version of the Group Texting app is now available which enables all its promised tricks.
Here's how you use the Sidekick 4G's group texting feature.
1. Create Your Profile Name
After opening the application, the first step is to create your profile name. This will let other folks you invite to your group know who you are. You'll also be given the option to add a picture of yourself. If necessary you can do this quickly with the Sidekick 4G's front-facing camera.
2. Add Contacts
Next you need to add contacts to your new group. Tapping the blue box in the upper left corner of the screen lets you edit group members or add new people to contacts. All that's needed is a name and mobile number.
3. Create Your Group
After adding a few contacts to your group, you then must save it by hitting the Save bar on the bottom of the screen. This will prompt you to give your new group a name. Once created, group members will receive a text explaining you've added them, along with commands to see who else are members.
4. Message The Group
Now that your group is ready to roll, try sending everyone a message. Do this by tapping the text box at the bottom of the screen or by beginning to type. Members of the group will receive your text at the same time. Everyone will also be able to see all messages in a single chain. Very nice.
Text an Attachment
The Group Texting app lets you easily attach all sorts of files to your texts, including images plus video and music clips. Just select the paper clip icon to the left of the text entry box.
Send an Image
In our case we sent a picture taken at a local coffee shop to make our fellow group members jealous. Isn't a little FOMO what Group Text is for?
Send Your Location
One of the most interesting features of Group Texting is the ability to send your location to other group members. Simply hitting the cross hairs icon will activate the map. The Sidekick 4G will then attempt to locate your position. We found that our location was most accurately determined when the phone attained a GPS lock. That's not very handy in urban settings since it's hard to communicate with GPS satellites indoors. A better implementation would be for Group Text to tap into location-based services such as FourSquare for position assistance, as does GroupMe.
Other Nice Features
Group Texting includes a few other nice features. These include a deep selection of emoticons, accessible through the smiling face icon, and handy Dot Commands. For instance, typing ".list" displays the other members of the group. Punching out ".stop" will remove you from the group, while ".sleep" will shut off texts to your device for one hour.
When we reviewed the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G ahead of its launch date, its Group Texting application wasn't quite ready for prime time and we ran into a few glitches. With the updated 1.0.54 version, we can truly say this app is indeed a powerful and convenient messaging tool. Similar to the popular GroupMe software, it provides a fast way for T-Mobile Sidekick 4G users to start messaging groups on the go. Unlike GroupMe, no complicated setup procedure is required. We just wish the location feature were a little more refined.