It's been a long time coming, but the Ocean 2 has finally launched and should be reaching customers' hands this weekend. Along the way, network Helio has been acquired by Virgin Mobile, and we've seen devices like the iPhone 3G, T-Mobile G1 and various high-end feature phones all crash the market. The stakes are undoubtedly higher, and the question is whether the Ocean 2 is too little, too late; we'll have the SlashGear review for you soon, but first off here's the video unboxing and some first impressions.
No great surprise, given the unboxing and the reviews, but Virgin Mobile USA have officially announced the launch of the Helio Ocean 2. Initially available in limited edition red, with black versions following on later in 2009, the Ocean 2 will go on sale come February 12th priced at $149. In addition, from the device's launch the carrier will be eliminating the $5 charge for unlimited mobile to mobile calling, together with starting Unlimited Nights & Weekend calling at 7pm, for all contract customers.
After its unboxing last Friday, the Virgin Mobile Helio Ocean 2 is back for a more meatier review. The dual-sliding QWERTY handset has taken some time to arrive, and it's finally dropped just in time for would-be users to ask if MySpace, chunky casings and 2GB of onboard storage is enough to tempt them in. Engadget Mobile have been comparing the Ocean 2 with its first-gen predecessor - together with the rest of the current feature-phone crowd - and have come back with mixed feelings.
Late, and still luminous orange, the handset formerly known as the Helio Ocean 2 and now as the Virgin Mobile Helio Ocean 2 has showed up for a pre-release unboxing. While a precise launch date for the dual-sliding smartphone is unclear, given the apparently production-ready state of the device and packaging pictured, plus Virgin Mobile's announcement that the phone will be going with Britney Spears on her Circus tour, it's expected by the time that kicks off in March at the latest.
Helio is said to be readying the launch of the Ocean 2 or OZ2 as some may call it. This new flagship smartphone is the successor to the Ocean that was launched back in 2007 around the same time of the iPhone. The phone is said to be ready to hit store shelves as early as next month.
We met with Virgin Mobile while at CTIA Wireless this week, and in-between taking a look at their first self-branded 3G handset, the Shuttle, had a chance to ask them about their plans for Helio. Virgin bought out the carrier, which also uses the Sprint network, earlier this year, and since then subscribers and analysts alike have been waiting for the official word on what exactly will happen to the company, its users and the devices it had planned. That of course includes the eagerly-anticipated Ocean 2 smartphone, and we're pleased to be able to confirm that yes, it's still coming.
Pantech, the maker of the Helio Ocean, is set to release the c810. AT&T will be getting this dual slider, instead of Helio. Sadly though, AT&T’s version might have Windows Mobile 6, but Helio has the power of Sprint’s EV-DO network, instead of mere EDGE speeds.
So, if you are a big fan of Windows Mobile 6, but also liked the dual slider action of the Ocean, feel free to go ahead and buy the Ocean and tell all the c810 users how much faster it is. No really though, the c810 is a pretty decent option for all the business users who need a phone based on the Windows Mobile platform.
Helio has been resurrected from the grave, with the short-lived network that helped usher in social on your phone being reborn as a budget option. Emerging as an MVNO - and using the Sprint network that actually absorbed the company back in 2010 - the promise is no minimum contracts and the ability to use your own device. At first glance, there's a lot to like: $29 for unlimited voice, text, and data, but in one important way the deal is a little too close to cell service ten years ago.
T-Mobile USA's roadmap for Android devices has leaked, suggesting that the HTC Magic - aka T-Mobile myTouch 3G - will hit the market over the summer, priced at $179, and be followed in the fall by two new handsets. Firstly, for QWERTY lovers, the G1 v2 "Bigfoot", and also the Samsung Houdini.
Toshiba helped us kick off the week with the announcement of their new TG01 Windows Mobile smartphone: on paper it sounds perfect, with a high-res touchscreen, super-skinny body and all the wireless connectivity you could feasibly ask for, as well as being the first device to deliver NVIDIA's 1GHz Snapdragon chipset. Check out our hands-on photos and video demos, as well as Toshiba's own GUI demo, and then try and explain to me why I still can't get as excited about the TG01 as I think I ought to be.
We opened the week with our first-impressions of the T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8900, a surprisingly adept smartphone that's managed to impress despite the absence of 3G. We've also been playing with Vuzix's iWear AV230XL OLED video headset, and the VIA Artigo A2000 Barebone Storage Server. Finally, if you prefer your gadgets with a bit of (artificial) flesh on their bones, take a look at our Orbita Mouse unboxing; we'll have the full review this coming week.