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Helio brightens its YouTube offering

The YouTube service on the mobile carrier's high-end Ocean handset is beefed up to allow GPS geotagging and easy uploads straight from the phone.

To use the worst of bad plays on words, YouTube has thrown itself into the Ocean: Youth-oriented mobile carrier Helio announced Wednesday that it has souped up the YouTube video offerings for its Ocean handset.

Owners of the double-keyboard smartphone are now able to upload videos to the Google-owned service more easily, fill in various criteria for them (privacy settings, tags, descriptions, categories) and "geotag" them thanks to the handset's GPS capability. Additionally, the Ocean YouTube application facilitates access to some of the social-networking features previously unavailable to most mobile versions of YouTube--rating, commenting, and access to personal videos through a full log-in.

The enhanced mobile YouTube is available free of charge on the Ocean, which has a 3G mobile Web connection. It's not the first time that a handset manufacturer has touted YouTube integration--Apple's iPhone prominently features a player for the wildly popular video-sharing service, and LG makes a "YouTube phone," the KU990 Viewty.

The new YouTube on the Helio Ocean. Helio

But Helio considers its YouTube interface to be a step above the fray, and apparently YouTube's honchos agree. "Helio has taken the mobile YouTube experience to the next level," Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder and CEO, said in a statement from Helio. "This innovative application offers people even more customization and provides them with instant access to interact with the YouTube community whenever and wherever they go."

Helio, a joint venture between EarthLink and SK Telecom that offers a regularly changing lineup of handsets, apparently has a new phone on the way called the "Mysto." No details on the gadget are available aside from a $150 price tag and a screenshot that appeared in the December issue of hipster fashion magazine Nylon.

But even though Helio continually rolls out new gadgets and high-profile partnership deals like the YouTube application, the company's future is still up in the air. The company has yet to convince the public that its business model can succeed, especially as competitors like Amp'd Mobile have shuttered.