Helio Ocean Smartphone debuts

Helio Ocean Smartphone

Over a month ago we had reported about the forthcoming Helio Ocean smartphone. And voila, here is it. The first dual-slider combining a traditional numeric keypad and a separate full QWERTY keyboard in a single device, Ocean delivers the definitive 3G mobile experience in an uncompromising form factor, exclusively on Helio’s nationwide service.

Speaking at the launch, Sky Dayton, CEO of Helio said, “Ocean is a new kind of mobile, combining aspects of other one-dimensional handsets into a single exceptionally designed messaging, surfing, multimedia and talking device.” Dayton added, “Helio is blessed with the smartest team in the U.S. mobile industry, who infuse their passion for innovation into every detail of the mobile experience, and Ocean is the proof.”

The Helio Ocean bundles in several features such as Instant Messages, text messages, picture messages and emails from the major portals and ISPs in one location. Running over a nationwide high-speed 3G network, in addition Ocean also offers full over-the-air music downloads, video-on-demand, a high-resolution camera, an HTML browser, GPS-enabled Google Maps for mobile, Buddy Beacon, first-of-its-kind full Web search from the device home screen, integration of IM presence into the address book, GPS tagging of photos and videos, MySpace on Helio and more U.S. industry firsts, all in a single, beautifully designed package.

“We leveraged Helio’s advanced technology and design capability to create a device that combines extraordinary form and features that are firsts for the U.S. market,” said Dr. Wonhee Sull, President & COO of Helio. “The dual-slide design is only one of Ocean’s many U.S. industry firsts, with advances in messaging, search, IM presence integration, GPS tagging of photos and video, and a music experience that we believe surpasses rival devices. Ocean is the result of a relentless focus on creating the ultimate combination of mobile device and services.”

The new Helio Ocean smartphone has much more to itself than being a mere phone and featuring the QWERTY keyboard. It incorporates voice, IM, text, email, search, music, video and the speed of 3G. With a flowing minimalist face and a soft-touch surface, the shape-shifting Ocean slides vertically to reveal a traditional alphanumeric keypad for comfortably making calls, sending quick texts or surfing the web, and horizontally to reveal a separate wide full QWERTY keyboard suitable for the heaviest of emails or text and picture messaging, Web searches and full screen landscape viewing of crisp images and video.

The Helio smartphone is indeed smart, blending email, text messages, picture messages and Instant Messages in a single messaging hub that’s just one touch away. Ocean’s integrated messaging dashboard includes access to Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, MSN Hotmail, Gmail, Helio Mail and EarthLink email. All you need to do is simply enter an ID and password and Ocean is ready to go with no extra software or manual setup required. Ocean also enables users to add two additional IMAP or POP3 email accounts and supports push mail from Yahoo!, AOL and MSN. Ocean will also support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which will be automatically downloaded to Ocean devices when available, combining business with pleasure as Ocean wirelessly synchronizes Microsoft Office Outlook email, calendar and contacts from a Microsoft Exchange Server. Further on, the Ocean smartphone is embedded with Ocean incorporates Instant Message access through Yahoo! Messenger, AOL’s AIM Service and Windows Live Messenger all in this single messaging paradise.

With the integrated messaging feature, users don’t have to go through the trouble of choosing between text messages or picture messages. Ocean does all the work through one interface, automatically sending an SMS for text messages or an MMS when a picture or video is attached, so staying in touch and sharing life as it happens is quicker and easier than before.

Helio Ocean’s Contact list does not only sync with Yahoo!, AOL and Helio Mail address books, but also includes a new unique feature, the industry’s first of ‘presence detection’ enabling users to immediately see which IM service their friends are logged into directly from their Contacts. All you need to do is simply begin typing a name from Ocean’s idle screen and the Helio Smart Dialer searches the address book by first and last name and pulls up full contact information, complete with icons to show if a person is logged in to Yahoo! Messenger, AIM or Windows Live Messenger. Getting in touch with friends has never been easier.

Furthermore, browsing the internet on a conventional phone is a multi-step process. But in the new Helio Ocean you just begin typing on the QWERTY keyboard from the idle screen and the device automatically switches into search mode, delivering tabbed results from Yahoo!, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon.com and Yelp on a single screen, another Ocean industry first. Ocean also has a built-in HTML browser so users can visit WAP sites or freely surf the Internet. Ocean’s Web browser also offers features like a mini map, zoom and full page viewing so navigation is easier than before.

Helio Ocean has a large, 2.4-inch, 260K color high-resolution QVGA display viewable in both portrait or landscape modes, external stereo speakers, Bluetooth for wireless voice and stereo Bluetooth for un tethered music and videos, a 2.0 megapixel camera with digital zoom and flash for photos and over two hours of continuous video recording, 200MB internal memory expandable via microSD to 2GB, and USB Mass Storage Mode for drag-and-drop sideloading of content from a computer. Ocean supports an array of audio and video formats including MP3, AAC and WMA audio, and MPEG4 and H.264 video, all delivered over a nationwide high-speed 3G network.

Helio Ocean also packs in a multimedia chip designed to optimize music playback for up to 15 hours of continuous audio, has blazing fast USB sync speeds and is the first device to support over-the-air music downloads from Helio Music as well as side-loading of individually purchased and subscription music tracks from popular music services. Ocean even allows users to browse the Web or their music library without interrupting music playback.

With Ocean’s 2.0 megapixel camera, thanks to Helio UP, users can take a picture with their device, tag it with metadata including a title, description, keywords and location information and upload it directly to Helio Album, Helio’s photo service. Helio UP is also GPS-enabled, giving users the option of attaching their GPS coordinates to their photos and video and uploading them to a photo service for the first time from a mobile device.

The all new Helio Ocean is available right away for $295 at Helio Stores, on the site www.helio.com or by perhaps buzzing 888-88-HELIO. Ocean is scheduled to be available at select GameStop and EB Games locations from May 21 onwards and soon after at thousands of additional retail locations across the U.S.

Features of the Helio Ocean smartphone in a gist:

  • Form Factor – Dual Slider – alphanumeric keypad + full QWERTY keyboard
  • Dimensions – 4.33″ x 2.20″ x .86″
  • Weight – 5.61 oz
  • Display – 2.4 inch QVGA display, 240 x 320, 260K colors
  • 3G Speed – EV-DO network support for fast multimedia downloads
  • Talk Time – Up to 5.1 hours
  • Memory – 200MB internal memory expandable via microSDTM with USB Mass Storage Mode
  • Camera – 2.0 Megapixel, digital zoom, built-in flash
  • Video Camera – MPEG-4 video recording
  • Audio – Stereo Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Personal Entertainment Center – Supports:
    MP3, AAC, WMA, MPEG-4, H.264, VOD, MOD
  • Additional Helio Ocean smartphone Features:

  • POP/IMAP Email Support
  • Supports Helio Music
  • GPS-enabled services and applications
  • Photo caller ID
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