Sony Announces mylo Personal Communicator

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Sony has announced plans to introduce a small wireless device that will allow users to exchange instant messages, browse the Internet, listen to music, send emails, and view photos.

The mylo will be able to connect to open Wi-Fi networks and wirelessly stream songs to other mylos. It will come with a version of the Opera web browser, and can connect to web-based email services like Gmail and Yahoo! mail.

For instant messaging, it will come bundled with Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger. To make writing messages of all types easier, the mylo will include a built-in QWERTY keyboard.

Despite the mylo’s lack of cellular-wireless capabilities, users will be able to make phone calls over Skype’s VoIP service.

“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,” said John Kodera, director of product marketing for personal communication devices at Sony Electronics.

Audio and Video, Too

Not surprisingly for a device from Sony, the mylo will offer several multimedia options.

It will allow users to play MP3, ATRAC, or WMA (secure and unsecured) files. The mylo will have a built-in speaker and a headphone jack for listening to music.

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Users will also also be able to view MPEG-4 videos on this device’s QVGA, 2.4-inch screen.

Multimedia files are typically large, and the mylo offers 1 GB of built-in memory. A Memory Stick Duo slot will allow for additional storage.

Files can be transfered over USB.

Up Against the Nokia 770

Sony is far from the first company to develop a Wi-Fi based device like the mylo. The most notable of these is the Nokia 770, which has been on the market since last year.

Both these devices offer similar features, but there are some fairly significant hardware differences.

The 770 offers a much larger screen — 4.13 inch vs. 2.4 inch — but the mylo will be small enough to fit into a pocket. Sony’s device will have a built-in keyboard, while Nokia’s does not.

In addition, the mylo costs a bit less.

Pricing and Availability

Sony expects the mylo to go on sale next month for $350.It will be available from Sony’s online store and at authorized retailers.

More information on this device can be found on Sony’s web site.

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