After notching up some pretty impressive performance figures over the past year, Helio is aiming to broaden its appeal with the launch of a new cellphone. Slotting neatly in underneath the Drift, the Heat continues the MVNO’s partnership with Samsung and opens up what’s possibly a more budget-oriented customer keen to take advantage of the company’s strong mobile internet options.
Being Helio, when we say “budget” we don’t mean it in the same sense as a feature-lite phone on one of the big networks; the Heat is a super-slender slider with feather-touch electrostatic control pad, GPS, 1.99-inch QVGA screen and stereo Bluetooth support.
That crisp screen - capable of flipping between portrait and landscape - comes in very handy when you’re taking advantage of Helio’s latest internet partnerships. They’ve signed up Boing Boing, craigslist, Digg, Metroblogging and Wikipedia and made each of them easily accessible from a WAP interface. Content is served up swiftly thanks to the 3G connection, while the onboard GPS means features like the Buddy Beacon and Google Maps are just as useful as with the Drift.
Mobile entertainment isn’t neglected, either. There’s 136MB of memory stuffed inside that dinky handset, and you can take advantage of mp3, MPEG-4 and VOD support. Helio Music compatibility makes keeping up to date with the latest music pantswettingly easy; full tracks can be downloaded while on the move for $1.99, or at your computer and transferred across for $0.99.
I’m glad to see Helio branching out and improving the range of handsets they support. While mobile features are key to long-term revenue, there’s no doubting that buyers like to be able to express themselves with their choice of cellphone. As the options increase the network is beginning to stand head and shoulders above its lumbering competitors. The Heat is available now for $150, available in two colours.