At long last, the Helio Ocean 2 is now available online. Many will just chuckle and give this bubbly handset a pass (especially for those who gave up after waiting for so long), but for those few die-hard Helio fans left it’s better late than never. If you have been lusting after this device and were waiting for its official release, head on over to Helio’s website where you can grab one for $149 with a two-year contract. If you click on the little “lawyers note” where the phone is available for online ordering, it also mentions that this is a limited time offer only. We’re not sure exactly what they mean by that, but it’s a pretty good cue to get one soon. Is there anyone out there getting ready to pick one one of these “3G social networking powerhouses”?
We can’t help but think of the upcoming Helio Ocean 2 when looking at this device – it’s as if Samsung took a good chunk of its design cues from fellow Korean handset manufacturer Pantech. However, it is definitely safe to say that physical design is where the similarities end… As in, hit a brick wall end. This new offering from Samsung, as noted by the ridiculous and hopefully proto-only branding seen in the picture, has audio that is powered by Bang & Olufsen by way of an internal B&O amp. Translation: This thing is going to be the music phone to end all music phones with a price tag to end all price tags. Yes, the volume may in fact go up to 11. Other features include a 3 megapixel camera, DivX support and a 2.8″ AMOLED touchscreen (we’re not sure if it’s capacitive or resistive, but it’s Samsung so we’re guessing the latter). For some odd reason, they decided to add a DJ feature where you can record tracks, scratch and add effects. Rumors slate the release of this device for May 2009, so keep your eyes peeled but don’t hold your breath. We really can’t picture any US carriers with this device any time soon but maybe we’ll get lucky with some quad-band 3G. Yeah, we doubt it too. Hit the jump for more shots of this beauty.
After one long year of waiting in agony, excitement, disappointment, despair and lastly hope, it looks like the Helio Ocean 2 has finally materialized and it appears to be a sure thing now. The packaging looks very similar to the first Ocean, though it is now just called Ocean 2 given the Virgin Mobile acquisition of Helio. There’s no mistaking this for anything else as it looks very much like the original and exactly like all the leaked images from a few months back. Word seems to be pretty solid that this is coming on February 12, so we’re just days away from salvation. The second generation Ocean has an upgraded version of the Ultimate Inbox which now threads SMS messages and has Google Talk included. The browser now supports full HTML and with 2GB of internal storage, you won’t be aching for memory as often as you did with the first Ocean. Hit the read link for a full unboxing treatment.
Helio fans have had enough torment for the last year. First, there were rumors that the company was going to go completely bankrupt. Then there were mixed feelings about the MVNO being acquired by another MVNO – Virgin Mobile. To top it all off, die-hard Ocean lovers kept getting their hopes and dreams shot down every couple of months with news of the Ocean 2, only to have it never arrive. Well, we hate to put you on that rollercoaster of emotions but a pretty solid source put word out that Helio is planning to put out the Ocean 2 as early as next month. But with the iPhone, Bold, Curve 8900, Storm, Palm Pre, G1, and HTC Fuze, how well will the Ocean 2 keep up? Not many even know about the original Ocean let alone rumors of a second iteration coming out. As much as we loved the first Ocean, we’re afraid this might be too little too late – even for some of the biggest Helio fans. No word on pricing as of yet, but with the original Ocean’s $299, don’t expect anything too tempting.
Earlier this year, around March, news of the Helio Ocean 2 was flooding the ‘net with diagrams “leaked” by the FCC. Well, the rumors and possibilities were quickly trashed when news of a Virgin Mobile acquisition of Helio came out. ‘Twas a sad day for hardcore Helio fans and mixed emotions were abound in the VM camp. However, it seems that Helio is still maintaining its unique branding of software and equipment even after the VM absorption, which makes the news of this new device all the more legit. The image speaks for itself: It distinctly resembles the original OZ1 and is even branded with the Helio name. It also appears to have touch-sensitive surfaces where the physical buttons used to be, which likely means haptic feedback, too. There’s even an optical joystick for navigation. Seems like it would also feature a QVGA display, Ev-DO, 2 megapixel cam with video, full HTML browser, and A2DP support. The phone should “wow” all the Helions who are still clinging onto their first-generation Oceans, but…
When is this sweet little gadget coming out? According to the folks over at Heliocity, they received an e-mail from a higher-up at Virgin telling them it’s not slated until early 2009! Are they kidding? They’ll have a lot of catching up to do because it’s likely this device might be outdated at that point (since it’s close to being ‘dated before its release). Come on, VM! Helio waited an eternity to update this and look where it got them. For the few die-hards that didn’t leave Helio and refuse to budge, cross those fingers and hope this comes out sooner than later.
After months of speculation and rumors of bankruptcy, Helio finally completed that deal with Virgin Mobile. For the better part of the year, forums, blogs, and news sites were aflame with SK Telekom’s restructuring at Helio, Earthlink’s decreasing role in its mobile venture, and Helio’s shrinking profits and customer base. VM then came along in an attempt to salvage what was left of the dying baby conceived by SKT and Earthlink.
Helio customers weren’t too thrilled, but VM users were excited at the possibility of bringing Helio’s plans over and getting a new post-paid option. Regardless of how they felt, the deal is done and final… Helio always asked, “Don’t call us a phone company,” now we can see why. We’ll miss you Helio. The Ocean 2 looked to be awesome, too…
If you haven’t heard by now — Virgin Mobile is acquiring Helio for $39M — you’re really living under something… In any case, what’s going to happen to Helio’s 170,000 subscribers? Well, we’ve go a hold of an internal Helio Q&A which answers some of those concerns. A couple highlights? Helio subscribers service will not be interrupted, Helio, believe it or not, is still accepting new activations, and the Helio brand will be dissolved into Virgin Mobile over time. The whole thing is after the jump.
Thanks, Ryan P.!