[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Sony taps instant message crowd
The mylo will be available from September - only in the US
Sony is to release a wireless-enabled, handheld device aimed at young people who use instant messaging (IM).

The pocked-sized gadget, called the mylo, will sell for about $350 (183), according to the Associated Press.

It has a small display and keyboard and is pitched at the young, mainstream market who use IM and are interested in making net telephone calls.

Sony has formed a partnership with Skype for net phone calls and with Yahoo and Google for instant messaging.

The mylo, which stands for "my life online", will only be available in the United States.

The device cannot be used for mobile telephone calls and as such there is no need for a monthly contract or subscription.

Personal communicator

The so-called personal communicator doubles as a portable media player.

It can play music, and screen photos and videos that are stored on its internal one gigabyte of flash memory or optional Memory Stick cards.

What does the mylo mean for the PSP?

It also can stream songs between mylo users within the same network, as long as the users grant permission to share their music files.

Many of the device's functions were touted as part of Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) - which was once described by the company as the Walkman of the 21st Century.

It too has wi-fi, can play music and video, display photos and is technically capable of supporting instant messaging and internet telephone calls.

But the wi-fi functionality has yet to be taken advantage of by the company. It is not clear if the mylo will be a rival to, or complementary to, the PSP.

"Our mylo personal communicator lets you have the fun parts of a computer in the palm of your hand," said John Kodera, a director of product marketing at Sony.

Face competition

The device will face competition from an increasing number of mobile phones that are incorporating wi-fi technology, as well as Microsoft's forthcoming Zune player and a slew of so-called ultra-portable PCs.

Danielle Levitas, an industry analyst at market researcher IDC, told AP that the mylo was a "unique, compelling" product, but said it might fare better at a lower price of $299 (165).

Although wi-fi is spreading across colleges, coffee houses, airports and entire cities, Mr Levitas said the wireless technology was not yet ubiquitous enough to help Sony break mylo out of a niche market.

"You need enough wi-fi out there to make this a compelling product to reach a wider audience," he said.

Art downloads for Sony PSP users
03 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Origami folds under expectation
09 Mar 06 |  Technology
Microsoft plans iPod media rival
01 Mar 06 |  Technology
Yahoo, Microsoft tie message knot
13 Jul 06 |  Technology

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific