Earlier today I wrote about Cingular's launch of their own MySpace integration app which, for $2.99 a month on top of your regular bill, lets you browse, search, upload pics and read/respond to messages on the popular social networking site. At the same time, I got in touch with Helio to get their response to the news; remember, MySpace themselves were claiming Cingular would be "more expansive" than Helio's service.
Justin Ried, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications at Helio, told me:
"In a short 7-months since launch, Helio has consistently been a step ahead of other carriers, launching custom services first like MySpace Mobile, GPS-enabled Google Maps for mobile and gifting & begging. And we're continuing to build on our position of innovative leader in the wireless space - all so our members can stay in touch with their friends better, easier and in unique ways"
He goes on to explain how Helio's new MySpace application, available to download within the next sixty days, will boast features like enhanced camera integration for real-time sharing of photos on your profile, click-free access to alerts, friend requests, event invites and messages from the cellphone's idle screen, improved functionality for editing your profile from your Helio including changing headlines, relationship status and images, all using a completely rebuilt cellphone UI with custom styles, improved graphics and animations.
Will this be enough to maintain Helio's growing popularity? It's a cliché and a cop-out to say something like "only time will tell", so I won't. Instead, how about some facts and a couple of presumptions: the Helio Drift, especially in its limited-edition Frost White form, is a sexy, competent handset that succeeds for the greater part due to Helio's integration of services and hardware. The route Cingular is taking - adding MySpace into its broad range of cellphones - means that the experience is only as good as the least capable handset; if I were Helio I'd be concentrating hard on picking the very best-of-breed to really showcase the services on offer.