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Helio launches GPS-enabled Drift

Helio launches GPS-enabled Drift with Google Maps integration and Buddy Beacon

Helio Drift

Helio has just welcomed a new member to their cell phone family, and it's called the Drift. Yeah, the rumors about this phone were true after all. Manufactured by Samsung, the Drift is a slider handset that measures 3.8 by 1.8 by 0.7 inches and weighs 3.53 ounces, and it comes in both Gunmetal Black and Frost White. The big feature that sets the Drift apart from Helio's existing offerings is its built-in GPS technology, which lets Helio offer services like GPS-enabled Google Maps for mobile and a new Helio service called Buddy Beacon.

Buddy Beacon lets you broadcast your location to your friends, with your nearest address displayed to the people you add to your Buddy Beacon buddy list (you can add up to 25 people to the list). In turn, you can SMS the same people to tell them to activate their Buddy Beacon, so that you too can see where they are. This way, you can find your friends easily and vice versa.

GPS-enabled Google Maps for Mobile is exactly like it sounds. You can pull up your location on a map, check real-time traffic, and even get detailed step-by-step directions to and from any destination. You can also access an integrated search engine, which lets you find local businesses and their contact information. The maps will be movable -- you can drag it across the screen and zoom in and out of a location. Satellite imagery is also available.

As for the Drift's features and specifications, here's what we know: it has a 2.12-inch QVGA 262,000-color display, 128MB internal memory, a 2.0-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom and flash, an MP3 player, a microSD card slot, MPEG-4 video recorder and player, built-in speakers, 3G high-speed support, and a newer faster web browser. Of course, like all Helio phones, the Drift also features easy access to MySpace Mobile.

As cool as all this sounds, the Drift won't come cheap. It's available now for $225 on the Helio web site plus at 2,500 retail locations. The Buddy Beacon and Google Maps application is free for subscribers that pay for Helio's all-in membership, while data charges will apply for those with the a la carte membership.