Hands-On With the Helio Ocean

Mar 29, 2007
Helio Ocean

Helio makes me glad. I've been waiting quite a while to say that, as I've felt for ages that the social-networking-focused wireless carrier was waiting for a phone that could really change the way people communicate. After half an hour with the Helio Ocean yesterday, I'm pretty convinced the Ocean is that phone.

The Ocean is basically a Sidekick 5. Take the Sidekick 3; think of what the Sidekick 4 would be; then add another generation.

Helio's been plugging its "dual-sliding" capability, where it slides in one direction to feel like a regular voice phone with a numeric keypad, and in another direction to reveal a full keyboard of small, but well spaced little nubbins.

But in my mind, the big deal here is the messaging software. The Ocean integrates everything on one screen, and lets you log into everything simultaneously: AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, text messaging, MMS, POP3 email, Microsoft Exchange, GMail, you name it. It only falls short of my two favorite e-mail solutions, Blackberry and Chatteremail, by refusing to integrate all the messages into one inbox. But it leaps ahead by integrating IM presence information into your contact book: click on any one of your contacts, and you'll see if they're logged in on AIM, Yahoo!, or whatever.

The Web browser isn't bad, either. It has an interesting zoom feature that dynamically resizes things while you watch, a picture-downloading feature that lets you grab images off of Web pages to use in your phone, and support for real, honest-to-goodness, ordinary Web sites.

Then there's Helio Up, the built-in blogging platform. I've seen integrated photoblogging on other phones, typically from Nokia and Sony Ericsson, but US carriers tend to perversely erase the blogging software before they release the phones over here.

Helio's a niche player. They aren't going to suddenly grab five million users from the major wireless carriers. But if you're a messaging focused person who isn't on a family plan and doesn't mind Sprint's coverage, you should probably be making some motion towards the Ocean when it comes out later this spring. A formal review is forthcoming, of course.

Copyright 2007 by Ziff Davis Media, Distributed by United Press International

Explore further: Study: Apple's new iPhones score big in durability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tide turns for shark fin in China

Aug 20, 2014

A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ...

Sri Lanka better prepared for future tsunamis

Jun 20, 2014

Vulnerable coastal communities in Sri Lanka now have more tools to help them survive tsunamis, cyclones, and other rapid-onset natural disasters. This increased preparedness flows from IDRC-supported research that evaluated ...

The oPhone: Odor now available on the Web

Jun 19, 2014

Who hasn't been transported back to childhood by the sweet aroma of baking cookies, or to a favorite forest by the earthy smell of leaf litter, or to a summer beach by the tang of salt air?

Technology hindered, helped search for Flight 370

Mar 28, 2014

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has presented two tales of modern technology. The limitations of tracking and communications devices allowed the plane to vanish from sight for nearly three ...

Malaysian official says missing plane hijacked

Mar 15, 2014

A Malaysian investigation into the missing flight 370 has concluded that one or more people with flying experience switched off communications devices and deliberately steered the airliner off-course, a Malaysian ...

Search for missing jet expands toward Indian Ocean

Mar 14, 2014

The international search for the missing Malaysian jetliner expanded westward Friday toward the Indian Ocean amid signs the aircraft may have flown on for hours after its last contact with air-traffic control ...

Recommended for you

Tim Cook puts personal touch on iPhone 6 launch

Sep 20, 2014

Apple chief Tim Cook personally kicked off sales of the iPhone 6, joining in "selfies" and shaking hands with customers Friday outside the company's store near his Silicon Valley home.

Montreal VR headset team turns to crowdfunding for Totem

Sep 18, 2014

A challenger in the virtual reality headset marketplace has launched a crowdfunding campaign to get the project off the ground. The headset is called Totem. The company behind Totem is Montreal-based Vrvana. ...

User comments : 0