updated 02:35 pm EST, Thu January 29, 2009
Helio Ocean 2 Feb 12th
Helio's long-delayed Ocean 2 is due to ship in just two weeks, MobileCrunch says in a pre-announcement hands-on. Supported in part by Helio parent company Virgin Mobile's own mention of the phone for a concert promo, the slip confirms that the phone will be available on February 12th. The phone continues to share the original's two-way QWERTY and number pad sliders but adds a new optical pad for navigation, 2GB of built-in storage, and improved software that includes a tabbed web browser, threaded SMS and Google Talk messaging.
The phone inherits a 2-megapixel camera and GPS navigation from the original Ocean along with matching social networking services like Buddy Beacon that keep track of nearby service-using friends. Virgin hasn't confirmed or denied the launch, though the phone is reportedly shipping first in a special red-trimmed edition with more standard colors coming later.