Sony Bets on WiFi With Mylo

Not since the PSP has Sony launched a consumer electronics device that falls into the must-try category. However, MyLo (my life online), a WiFi based handheld that is part-Nokia 770, part Sidekick, part OQO and part SkypePhone wrapped in a PSP-like body might change all that.

You cannot argue with the release of this device. Research shows that WiFi usage inside homes is only going to increase. There will be 160 million broadband enabled, networked homes by 2010, according to The Diffusion Group. This trend offers opportunities to sell devices specially designed for this type of environment.

Nokia was the first one to realize that when they released Nokia 770. Sony’s PSP only offered limited features, but lacked the true portability. Any communicator-type device that wants to be successful in the US, needs to have a keyboard and with MyLo, Sony has done precisely that.

The new device which is optimized for post PSTN communications – IM, email and Skype is targeting the MySpace set, that would rather thumb than talk on the phone. It can playback music, and has 1GB flash-based storage, and can also take additional memory stick slots. It truly does leverage the wireless network, and the feature which could be a killer in the long run is ad-hoc music sharing.

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.

The device has “presence” management features and allows you to track your social network of upto 90 people from a screen called “What’s up.” It also has a built in browser which makes sending emails via web interfaces easy. Now it won’t be Sony if they didn’t trip up a little – the device supports only 802.11b networks and is expensive, about $350. It will be available next month.

Full review at Engadget.