Requiem for a hiptop

My hiptop & docomodake keitai strap

Ted Rogers, this is all your fault!

It was with great sadness that I removed the $20/month unlimited hiptop data plan from my Fido account yesterday. I’ve relied on the Danger hiptop, both 1st and 2nd generation models, since January of 2005 — a record for me, as somebody recently pointed out that in the eight months that she’s known me I’ve burned through no less than three smartphones.

I remember the first time I saw the hiptop in my local Fido store… I didn’t quite get what it was all about, focusing instead on the bizarre external camera that plugged into the unit’s headphone jack — I’m still trying to figure that one out!

But when tri-band models were being cleared out I took the plunge, and the automatic over the air sync of my precious calendar, contacts, email and to-dos quickly won me over.

A scant few months later I was using the new and improved hiptop 2 and all was well, except when I travelled off-continent and had to shut off the data connection or risk bankruptcy from the hiptop’s persistent connection to the mobile internet and the data roaming charges that resulted.

By fall of 2006 I had reached the upper limits of what my calendar could hold. I was using Windows at the time and Fido offered a utility to sync my data to Outlook, but while it managed to free up my contacts for use on my regular computer it always choked on everything else. I started deleting my oldest events but quickly came to the horrible realization that I was erasing precious memories forever — how else could I possibly remember that I had banana pancakes at Fran’s from 12 to 1pm on July 25th, 2005?!

And then the killing blow… The CRTC in its infinite wisdom decided that it was perfectly all right for this country to have but one GSM operator, so they green-lit Rogers’ takeover of Fido. At that very moment Fido was testing the hiptop 3 for their network — but Rogers, offering no unlimited data plan of their own, quickly put an end to that business. There was a lot of speculation and even a letter-writing campaign, but the successor to Fido’s only data-centric device turned out to be little more than a cruel joke — the hollow carcass of a Nokia E61 without 3G or WiFi.

Around that time I had been toying with an HTC TyTN, but because Windows Mobile had clearly been beaten too many times with the ugly stick I pulled my hiptop out of retirement and popped my SIM card back into it. But it wasn’t the same. Data outages were growing ever more frequent now, and after being spoiled by the TyTN’s impressive HSDPA and UMTS speeds loading up a full HTML page on my hiptop seemed glacially slow.

The hiptop unlimited data plan is no longer listed as an option on Fido’s website. It will be grandfathered for current users, but since Fido no longer offers the hardware it seems likely that they’ll shut down the connection to Danger’s servers at some point in the future. It’s a real shame; in a lot of ways, the hiptop has been the best mobile phone I’ve ever had.

I’ll especially miss:

  1. Paying only twenty bones a month for all the data I can eat!
  2. Not having to sync anything to a desktop computer.
  3. Dangling shit from it (see photo at top of post).
  4. Watching eyes widen with interest anywhere I flipped open the hiptop’s screen to reveal the keyboard beneath.

But not so much:

  1. Having to turn off the data connection when travelling.
  2. The data outages when I wasn’t travelling.
  3. Having to play a couple of levels of Breakout while waiting for a web page to load.
  4. A few precious memories forever lost because I reached the limit of calendar events — even if they were only meals at restaurants!

By Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?


  1. AC:

    A sad day indeed.

    But at least you’re not lining up outside an Apple Store hoping to buy an iPhone…


    PS: this blog is the first place I saw the words hip and top combined. a better sounding word than laptop, I think.

  2. Ummm not to rain in on your parade, but the Fido Unlimited Hiptop Plan does still exist however now it is a manual add. You are welcome to contact the fido contact center and have it added to your account such as I did only days ago.

    Check it out for yourself. It is still around 😀

  3. Right you are. I guess I should have been more explicit — this is a requiem for my hiptop.

    You can indeed still activate a new hiptop data plan if you can get your hands on the old hardware; for me the frequent outages became too much of a pain…

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