I thought this was an interesting announcement, coming so close on the heels of Mobile ESPN's launch the day after the Super Bowl. There's been a flurry of press but I'm not seeing a lot of analysis, even from some names like Om Malik...maybe people are holding their breath until the service actually launches.
Going after new customers with these types of co-branded services makes sense. For existing customers, the switching costs would be steep - especially if you've already invested in equipment and accessories along with a long-term service contract. So the experience needs to be pretty enticing, right?
On the same day as the Helio/MySpace partnership announcement, the Wall Street Journal published a review of Mobile ESPN. Some interesting facts: IM and email are disabled; access to some sites is blocked, e.g. the competition; and the service can cost up to $224.99 a month[!].
Don't get me wrong - the Hero and Kickflip are pretty cool looking phones. But it looks like Helio will fall short of the level of integration that Mobile ESPN has with Sanyo. There were no quotes from MySpace in the press release - don't both parties usually want air time in partnerships like this? I think we'll see that this is a temporary exclusive and the portal will expand to other carriers and devices. No way News Corp will limit MySpace's over 50 million users to one type of device - the community would inevitably force expansion once users get turned on and demand a mobile interface.