A new product category begins with the Sony mylo Personal Communication Device
By Mike Hanlon
August 7, 2006
August 8, 2006 Sony is launching its first WiFi broadband communication and entertainment device to capitalize on the growth of wireless Internet access. The new US$350 mylo personal communicator will be available in September and is capable of operating in any open 802.11b wireless network, often found on college campuses, in public spaces and within private homes around the country. This product is designed for people who use instant messaging as a primary form of communication and networking for their social life. The name mylo stands for "my life online" and the communicator lets you use instant messaging, browse the Internet, listen to music, send emails and view photos concurrently.
Small enough for a pocket or purse, the slim, oblong-shaped device features a 2.4 inch color LCD (measured diagonally) with a slide out QWERTY keyboard for comfortable and quick thumb typing.
The device, available in black or white, comes embedded with popular instant messaging services: the Google Talk instant messaging service, Skype and Yahoo! Messenger. These services are free and the product does not require initial computer setup or a monthly service contract.
"The mylo personal communicator puts the fun parts of a computer in the palm of your hand," said John Kodera, director of product marketing for personal communication devices at Sony Electronics. "It's ideal for people who want to stay connected to their online friends and family, but not be weighed down by a PC or buffeted by charges for IM and texting on cell phones."
Get Up, Get Out and Get Online
The pocketable design encourages users to get up and away from their desks and roam available wireless networks. The product includes JiWire's hotspot directory listing more than 20,000 WiFi networks in the United States, so you can find a hotspot near you.
The mylo personal communicator boots up in seconds and can scan for available wireless networks right away. The "What's Up" screen serves as the hub, storing up to 90 of your friends' avatars so you can quickly see who's online. You can store up to nine online identities per person which allows you to first choose who you want to chat with then easily initiate conversations using your preferred application.
The embedded HTML browser lets you quickly connect to full Web pages on the Internet. You can also send and receive text emails with web mail services like Yahoo! Mail and the Gmail web mail service.
The communicator comes with Skype software built into it, allowing registered Skype users to make free Internet calls with the 113 million other Skype users worldwide. For a limited time, Skype is offering free SkypeOut calls from United States and Canada to most phone numbers in the United States or Canada.
Stop, Look and Listen
While you chat or browse the Internet, the 1GB of the flash memory on the mylo personal communicator lets you enjoy your music too. It supports the playback of MP3, ATRAC or WMA (secure and unsecure) files. The mylo communicator has a built-in speaker for listening to music so you can share your music with those around you. You can also view MPEG-4 personal videos by transferring files via USB cable or with Memory Stick Duo media. You can also store JPEG pictures from the Internet or your digital camera.
Providing networking possibilities without a wireless network, the mylo personal communicator detects when it comes into the presence of other mylo units. With the ad-hoc application, you can share play lists and stream music between mylo communicators one at a time.
Gotta Keep Up
To support all of this functionality, the mylo device uses a lithium-ion battery that offers up to 45 hours of music playback, around seven hours of chatting and web surfing and more than three hours of continuous Skype talk time. It comes with a microphone, stereo headphones, a USB cable and a neoprene case.
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