Helio readies the Ocean 2 smartphone

Helio is expected to launch the Ocean 2 next month, but will the phone really be an iPhone killer?

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon

Helio, the "virtual" wireless operator that was bought by Virgin Mobile USA last year, is about to launch the next rendition of its flagship smartphone called the Ocean 2, Silicon Alley Insider reported Friday.

The Web site cited a company representative who said that the new phone could go on sale as early as next month.

Several blogs mentioned the existence of the new phone back in May. At the time, Engadget Virgin Mobile's $39 billion acquisition of Helio last June delayed things a bit. And now that the company has been rebranded to Helio by Virgin Mobile

it is ready to launch the new smartphone.

But the big question is whether the Ocean 2 will be able to compete against other hot smartphones on the market, including Apple's iPhone 3G, Google's Android phone from T-Mobile called the G1, Research in Motion's BlackBerry Storm and Bold devices and Palm's new Pre.

All these hot new phones have been introduced in the past six months, after rumors of the Ocean 2 were first reported.

Helio's original Ocean was introduced in 2007, a few months before the iPhone. While the phone has some solid features, it's no iPhone. And my gut feeling is the newer version will still have a tough time competing with the iPhone and all the other hot smartphones on the market.