She’s Out of Your League, Helio.

Wow, I can’t believe I still hear people referring to the Helio Ocean as a serious iPhone competitor. These people clearly have yet to experience the iPhone. I, too, mourn the lack of 3G and GPS functionality on the iPhone, but I don’t miss having a hardware keyboard. The iPhone keyboard works amazingly well after a little practice, and this is coming from a former SideKick 3 owner. That device had the best hardware keyboard, for its size, I’ve ever used.

As a former T-Mo customer, I was hesitant to move away from the simple, straightforward plans offered by the company. Turns out I was really worrying about nothing… AT&T’s plans for new subscribers are perfectly clear. I do miss having an AIM client on my phone every day, but I’ll have one soon… that’s only a matter of time now, whether Apple likes it or not.

What I’ve gained by switching, on the other hand, I can barely begin to discuss here… It is the first smartphone I’ve ever had that felt useful to me at all times. Everything it does, it does insanely well, and with such style that it warms this UI designer’s heart at every turn. Everything is integrated with everything else, and it all just works seamlessly.

The Ocean has a lot of apps, and great hardware specs, but that’s where its advantage ends. Its industrial, interface, and system design can not begin to compare to Apple’s offering. When you consider that the iPhone is just getting started, and observe Apple’s record of regularly improving the user experience of their products, you have to know this thing’s just going to get better.

There are definitely devices out there that have features that the iPhone doesn’t, but in order to be a “competitor”, it has to have the potential to attract potential iPhone buyers. This is not the case; nobody with the means and desire to purchase an iPhone is going to get a Helio Ocean instead. They might get a Nokia E90. Now that device is an iPhone competitor.

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