Helio talks the right story

Helio is the new name of the MVNO being created by SK Telecom and Earthlink. The name itself isn’t worth a posting (although I’m always happy when a company successfully gets a new brand, considering how hard it is to get legal clearance). But I like the story Helio’s telling about its target market.

Helio says it’s going to target young people with phones enhanced for music, games, video, and other entertainment. I like that they claim they’re working on both the hardware and the software together, because that’s the right way to create a successful mobile device. And I know from the research I’ve been involved in that there’s a substantial market of young people who are willing to pay extra for phones that also keep them entertained. But there are two catches.

The first (and it’s an important one) is that most of these young people, because they’re young, don’t have a huge amount of spare cash. It’ll be interesting to see how Helio balances the budgets of its target customers against the high revenue it says it’ll generate.

The second catch is that, although many young people do want phones that entertain them, most of them are not at all willing to pay extra for technology for its own sake. The products have to be iTunes/iPod-quality, or Helio won’t live up to expectations. This is sometimes a hard task for Asian companies, whose domestic markets are a little more willing to buy gadgets just because they’re cool.

Still, I hope Helio can pull it off.