Sony announces mylo

Bit like a PSP without the games.

Sony has taken the wraps off its latest consumer electronics device - a handheld communication and media system called mylo, which borrows many of the design and media features of the PSP.

Titled as an acronym of "My Life Online", the system looks like a slightly smaller and more curvaceous version of the PSP system, but features a keyboard which slides out from behind the screen for writing instant messages and emails.

Unlike the PSP, mylo has no videogames functionality and lacks a UMD drive. Instead, the system is targeted firmly at people who use the internet for much of their communications, and features integration with popular voice and text messaging clients such as Skype, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk.

Users of the system will not face any mobile network charges, as it is designed to connect over wireless LAN hotspots - commonly found now in many homes, workplaces, schools and universities, as well as in a number of public places. However, this does mean that its communication functionality is restricted to those hotspots.

Like the PSP, mylo comes with a built-in web browser, and will also play back a wide range of audio and video formats either from its 1GB of built-in flash memory, or from Memory Stick Duo media.

The lack of a UMD drive in the device looks like another step away from the ailing format for Sony, with the firm promoting the ability to play back movies from rewritable Memory Sticks rather than from the optical disc format - which remains restricted solely to the PSP at present, and is suffering from falling support from key movie studios.

mylo is set to ship next month in North America, priced at around $350 - which converts over to about 275 Euro / GBP 185, although of course those prices are exclusive of VAT and other taxes.

That pricing actually makes mylo quite a lot more expensive than the PlayStation Portable, so despite the use of the PSP as a media device rather than a gaming platform - which seems quite widespread, although no proper figures exist to prove the point either way - mylo looks unlikely to eat into sales of Sony's flagship handheld.

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