Oh, the Helio Ocean still brings a big goofy grin to my face because it was the super hip device that no one really bought except for me. Sure, the Ocean 2 caused some excitement with its boosted specs but it was dead on arrival thanks to the success of the iPhone. MobileCrunch got its mitts on the prototype for what would have been the Ocean 3 and, while it’s nice, I still don’t think it could have saved Helio.
The first two handsets were made by Pantech and the first one blew my mind because it rocked a portrait and vertical slider. Sure, the keypad was bulky and downright useless most of the time, but the industrial design delighted me. The Ocean 3 was going to be made by Samsung and it was going to be a more-traditional portrait slider, which makes it kind of boring.
An interesting part of the Ocean 3 story is that it could have been the very first phone to run Android, not the HTC G1. Unfortunately, SK Telecom, which owned half of Helio, decided to pursue its own Linux-based OS that didn’t go anywhere. The third Ocean was slated to have a unique user interface called “Halo,” which was a Flash-based UI. The interesting thing is that many of those who created Halo eventually moved to Palm and some of the user experience elements found its way into webOS.
The Ocean 3 was eventually scrapped because Helio was rapidly going down the drain. The company was eventually purchased for a discounted price by Virgin Mobile, which officially killed the Helio brand earlier this year. It was a mobile virtual network operator that went after young subscribers who wanted to use a ton of data. It sounded like a solid idea but the MVNO model has proven to be disastrous and Helio faced multiple problems getting its users to actually pay their bills on time.
Any other old-school Helio Ocean owners out there? Give us your favorite Ocean memory in the comments and use the “via” link below to view a few more pictures.