Helio Ocean 2 in Feb.?
MVNO carrier Helio may ship its second Ocean smartphone as early as February, according to a company representative. The phone is at least due this quarter, which would put a release date no further than the end of March. The current Ocean is Helio's signature phone, a messaging device with many iPhone-like features such as a YouTube client and a built-in GPS receiver. The Ocean 2 is expected to have similar features, such as a microSD slot and a two-megapixel camera with flash.
Helio Ocean 2 at FCC
The long-rumored Helio Ocean 2 has finally shown in concrete form courtesy of an FCC filing made public today. Appearing under the codename OZII, the Pantech-made dual slider matches earlier leaks and appears to primarily change the looks of the original Ocean as well as improve the software; aside from chromed trim, the device would chiefly improve by adding a full HTML web browser.
Ocean 2 on Virgin in 2009
Virgin Mobile plans to carry Helio's planned Ocean sequel but doesn't have plans for it until next year, says company spokesperson Jayne Wallace. Although confirming that the device has been built and that Virgin will take over releasing the device to market, Wallace says the new Ocean isn't yet ready and that it should be launched in early 2009, when it will perform as "best" as possible. Little is known about the Pantech-made device other than that it should continue to use a dual slider and that it will have a cosmetic makeover.
Helio Ocean Opera Mini
Helio today revealed that the Ocean would be the first cellphone to have free access to Opera Mini. The update gives the dual-mode slider phone browsing that more closely resembles desktops rather than the basic WAP browsing it had used before; as with Apple's mobile Safari, users can see a zoomed-out version of the full, accurately rendered page and then zoom in to focus on specific articles. Opera's unique remote caching approach also helps make the most of the Ocean's 3G connection by cutting down on load times.
HTC Dual Mode Slider
HTC has developed a technology for slider phones that could make them both more useful and more elegant, according to a new US patent filing. Rather than rely on either dual sliders (as with the Helio Ocean) or other complicated designs, the prototype would include a unique keyboard plate and slider track that would allow users to shift the LCD from calling to text modes without significantly impacting the size of the phone.
Helio Ocean YouTube
Helio this morning announced it would add a dedicated YouTube program for the Ocean, becoming one of the few outside of Apple to receive a customized YouTube client. The Pantech-made, dual slider phone receives the ability to not just browse videos either in landscape or portrait view but also to contribute; users can rate videos and add comments but also upload contributions taken using the Ocean's built-in camera. Uploaders can customize the title and tags for a video but also take advantage of the Ocean's GPS unit to geotag videos, pinpointing the location for later use at a site such as Google Maps.