Big props to Engadget for getting a Helio Kickflip before I did – word on the street is they actually shelled out some cash to buy one, as opposed to waiting for the loaners that most tech journalism runs on. But there seems to be a lot of UD (uncertainty and doubt, without fear) about Helio both on the Engadget Mobile comments thread and on the Howard Forums discussion board, so I thought I’d clear some things up with 10 answers.1.
Helio, as it’s shipping now, is not a power user carrier or an Internet focused carrier. It is a carrier targeted at young people with relatively deep pockets and a love for social networking. Keep that in mind when you look at their services. Yes, this approach makes me sad, as you know; I’ve been told it may change in the future, and I hope it does.2. No, you cannot connect your Helio phone to your PC as a modem so your PC can access the Internets.3. No, it doesn’t have a Web browser. Only WAP. I’m not sure whether you’ll be able to load the third-party Opera Mini browser, though — that’s something I aim to check out.4. No, it doesn’t have Bluetooth.5. No, it doesn’t have a native email client. You access email through WAP.(If answers 2-5 concern you, look again at answer #1. This is not a power user service right now. It’s for people who want a great-looking cell phone with a good camera and lots of games that posts to MySpace.)6. No, you can’t use the Helio phones on Verizon or Sprint or any other carrier, and you can’t use Verizon or Sprint phones on Helio. If you like the phones, subscribe to the carrier.7. No, it’s not going to be sold in any countries other than the US for now. While I could imagine them expanding into Canada in theory, they’re definitely not going to Europe or any other continents. With a US-based subscription, the Helio phones can roam in 36 countries including China, India, and South Korea (if they have roaming agreements) — but they’re doorstops in western Europe.8. Yes, all of this may change, and soon.
Helio has said they’ll be releasing more power-user devices in the future. Sky Dayton ruled out PC-modem tethering in an interview with Gizmodo recently, but he’s changed his mind about things before.9. Yes, you can put your own media on the device, as long as it isn’t DRMed. The phones come with a Windows (not Mac) app called Media Mover that will supposedly reformat videos for the phone. I’m still not sure whether you can use your own media as ringtones, though. I’ll have to check that out.10. Yes, Helio’s primary network for now is Sprint. They’re using Sprint’s network for EV-DO coverage, their coverage map is identical to the one on the Sprint Web site, and the data services will work when you’re in a Sprint EV-DO city. But they have deals with Verizon as well, so their coverage may improve/expand.More soon, when I get the phone. I promise.