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Hope for Helio

No two MVNOs seem to be going more directly head-to-head than Helio — the JV between EarthLink and Korea's SK Telecom — and Amp'd Mobile, Verizon Wlreless's hipper half. I suppose CDMA is the official network infrastructure of youth. Whereas Amp'd seems to be focused more on entertainment, though (albeit "cooler" entertainment), Helio CEO (and EarthLink co-founder) Sky Dayton offers a cool head when it comes to cramming convergence down acolytes' handsets in another great Engadget interview. On digital photography:

We’re not going to integrate technology just for the sake of technology, like putting a ten megapixel camera on a phone. We could do that — we know where to get ‘em, you know — but it’s a little bit of a freak show as a handset, right? I mean it’s not a very good phone, it’s huge and it’s not really a very good camera. If you want ten megapixels, go get a D50, you know; that’s a great camera.

And on the "iPod must die" mantra sweeping through the carriers' corridors:

We will not do something that’s a marginal experience. The iPod is a great experience and what I focus on is “What’s really different here?” We’re organized around a central theme, which is communication and connection. And the thing that our customer wants to connect to is their friends and to their world.

Speaking of which, Sky takes modest swipe at his rival by noting that Helio doesn't have "mobile" or "wireless" after its name because, duh, of course this demographic expects things to be wireless. Imagine how banal it would be to label New York's hippest hotspot "Night Club."

When I first met Sky in EarthLink's early days, he demonstrated one of the most impressive thought processes around the company's positioning I'd ever seen spelled out. Incredibly, the company has survived despite competition with telecom titans, and is now leading the charge to circumvent them again with broadband by teaming up with Google.