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Mobile Phones Target MySpace Generation

Helio plans to offer multimedia handsets designed for its high-speed 3G networks and tied to social networking site MySpace.com.

Helio LLC, a joint venture between Korean wireless carrier SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and Earthlink Inc., plans to launch its service in the spring with two cellular phones tied to MySpace.com, a music-focused social networking site popular with teenagers and young adults.

Los Angeles-based Helio on Thursday said it plans to offer multimedia handsets called the Hero and Kickflip, which are designed for its high-speed 3G networks.

Helio is looking to differentiate itself from other carriers by offering data services focused on social networking, as well as games, music, and video. Anchoring the company's offerings will be a partnership with MySpace.com that will give Helio subscribers access to MySpace services, such as email, instant messaging, blogging, photos, and subscribers' profiles.

Additional features for Helio subscribers include the ability to post photos to MySpace.com directly from a Helio phone, additional photo storage, and a presence tool to know when a person is online via a Helio phone.

Helio executives are apparently banking on making their phones the "cool device" for the younger generation.

"Helio is for those of us who want a badge of personality, not a phone; a mobile lifestyle, not a utility," Sky Dayton, chief executive of Helio, said in a statement.

MySpace.com is among the most popular networking sites for young people, with more than 55 million subscribers, according to the company. Helio marks SK Telecom's entry into the U.S. market. The South Korean company, which has operations in China, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia, serves more than 18 million subscribers, with 17.5 million of them using data-capable phones, according to business research firm Hoover's Inc.

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