Helio's influence on Virgin Mobile continues to grow, as Virgin Mobile just announced the availability of the "Connect" social-networking dashboard and Opera Mini 4.2 to its prepaid customers. These features were previously available on post-paid devices only, like the Helio handsets. They will launch later this month on devices like the Shuttle, the Jax, and the X-tc. Do note that you'll have to sign up for a monthly or prepaid data pack plan. The price ranges from $5 for 5MB of data on prepaid plans, to $10 for 50MB on a monthly plan.
The "Connect" social-networking dashboard is essentially a one-stop hub for many social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube. You log-in once and have access to all of these networks without needing to manage them separately. You can see things like status updates, new messages, new invitations, new photos and videos, and more. Virgin Mobile customers can also use Connect's integrated RSS reader to catch up on all their latest news feeds.
Opera Mini 4.2 might not be new to most of you, but it will be new for Virgin Mobile prepaid customers. It's a better browser than most standard proprietary ones, so we're glad to see this improvement. You can sync your bookmarks and view pages in landscape mode on certain devices.