Virgin Mobile kills off all sign of Helio – and gets rid of the Ocean 2? [Updated]

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As any member of the Greg Kumparak Fan Club (Hey! It exists. They have T-shirts. And buttons.) should know, I was a bit of a Helio geek prior to jumping on board with the Crunch family. My interest weened pretty quickly once Helio got snatched up by Virgin Mobile, as it seemed like their efforts with the property would be few and far between. I wouldn’t have wagered, however, that they’d be taking steps backwards.

That’s exactly what they seem to be doing, however. We’re not sure exactly when this happened, but it was recently brought to our attention that the Helio Ocean 2 — which just launched back in February — no longer appears on Virgin Mobile’s list of available phones. If you want an Ocean, you’re stuck with the now ancient original.

That is, unless you speak Korean. Strangely, the Ocean 2 (and a bunch of other Helio phones long abandoned in the English market, like the Heat and Fin) is still available to Korean-market Virgin Mobile USA customers.

Additionally, it seems like the final steps are being taken to absorb the Helio brand entirely — that is, to kill it off. Helio.com now instead resolves to Virgin Mobile’s USA. For the final nail, all models are being referred to by their original manufacturer (Samsung Mysto rather than Helio Mysto, for example), though they still bear the Helio logo.

Update – Virgin Mobile’s comment on the topic:

Since before we closed on the purchase of Helio, we always said we intended to integrate it under the Virgin Mobile brand as our contract service. We made that transition as we launched Helio By Virgin Mobile and then moved several months ago into our contract/no contract collateral. Helio.com has taken you to the VMU website for quite some time.

As for the Ocean 2, yes, we have sold out — it is a great device! We continue to offer both contract and no contract handsets and plans.

A quick call to Virgin Mobile customer service verifies that the Ocean 2 is out of stock “indefinitely”.

[Thanks David!]

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