We caught up with Sky Dayton wandering the floor, displaying the kind of supreme confidence you'd expect from the 35-year-old Earthlink founder who is now trying to recreate the handset business with his Helio.
The company is getting a lot of attention for its latest "Ocean," and we're one of the first to get a chance to play with it.
"It is the world's first duo-slide. Slide one way to make a phone call. Slide the other way when you want to text," says Dayton.
He's clearly trying to seize on the social-networking craze that rolls together voice, text and a kind of "always-connected" approach to life.
"The mobile device has become the center of your world, the one thing you can't live without," he says. "So you want to create a device that won't compromise. Talking isn’t enough any more. You want to do more with these devices, and with the processing power getting so much faster and the speed of these 3rd generation networks, we can now have a mobile existence, have everything in one device, and we think that Ocean is it.
Ocean's specs are impressive, supporting Napster, Yahoo's PlayForSure and Helio's own music store. It's got a pretty, 262,000 color, 2.4 inch QVGA screen, 200MB of internal memory, an updated Helio operating system, a full HTML browser and a list-price of $295.
"We are kind of moving to the next level. The next stage of wireless. What do you do with the networks? Not just 'is there a network?' The 3rd generation network, like the one Helio uses allows you to pretty much, wherever you are, download video and music over the air, fix your location with GPS, download all your IMs, your messages, e-mail all in a single device."
Helio is generating enormous buzz, both for capabilities and slick design.
Ya hear that, iPhone?
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