Wednesday, 09 August 2006 11:53

Sony Mylo hits and misses the mark

The new handheld device that everyone is talking about from Sony, the Mylo (my life online) is spot on the mark in many areas. However, there is one serious deficiency - its dependency on Wi-Fi.

The stated target audience of 18-24 year olds for this new product are already huge users of mobile phones, MP3 players, instant messaging packages and of course web browsers. The Mylo attempts to combine the elements of all these devices in an affordable handheld package and appears to succeed to a point.

Mylo has a choice of major IM packages including Skype, Yahoo and Google. It allows users to make VoIP calls using Skype. Users can browse the web using Opera mobile. And the device can store 1GB of music without additional memory sticks. For IM texting, the Mylo even provides a slide out qwerty keyboard which sure beats messaging on a mobile phone.

So what's the problem? Unfortunately, unless you happen to be in one of the few cities of the world that have ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage, what you have in Mylo is just a large MP3 player most of the time.

Outside the home, Wi-Fi is available at most airports, many large hotels and some coffee shops. More often than not, users have to pay to use the service.

The argument that the Mylo will enable users to cut down on their mobile phone bills does not hold water. Our kids won't be able to ring or message each other from the bus or train or call home to say that they'll be late. Until Wi-Fi is as ubiquitous as cellular networks, the Mylo has limited appeal.

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Stan Beer

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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