SONY JUST ANNOUNCED A NEW personal communications device called "mylo" (MY Life Online). It's a Wi-Fi-based, PSP-shaped Instant Messenger with Web browsing, VoIP phone with MP3/Video playback capabilities. According to John Kodera, a director of product marketing at Sony, "Our mylo personal communicator lets you have the fun parts of a computer in the palm of your hand." I guess the marketing guys are trying to find some way to explain this very complex concept to the public. After all, unless you live in a Wi-Fi cloud, you don't need this product, it's too expensive and it's way ahead of its time--or is it?
Millennials (a demographic group born post-1982,) and Digital Natives (their younger siblings) think of e-mail the way their parents think of hand-written formal letters. Their written communications are done almost exclusively via IM and SMS. Their libraries are Google, IMDB and a few other specialized search engines. And they don't understand the concept of "a" phone company. They have lived in a world where several very big technology, media and entertainment companies are always competing for their attention. For these two groups, mylo does it all.
There are several municipalities, college campuses, Starbucks locations, airports and hotel lobbies that feature Wi-Fi clouds--to say nothing of the ubiquity of in-home Wi-Fi routers. If Sony has the interface right, it is just possible that mylo will capture the imagination of this community of interest and get some traction.
One thing is clear, this is just the beginning. We won't know whether mylo is the Apple Newton of personal communications devices, or the Palm Pilot, until year's end. But even if it turns out to be too far ahead of its time, mylo will give us an up-close and personal view of how different living in broadband cloud will be.
Although it will probably be delayed, the transition from analog to digital television is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2009. On that day, we could see the first truly large-scale broadband clouds come into existence. If they do, devices like mylo will be all the rage. Kudos to Sony for bringing its CE expertise to the party. Mylo will take us one step closer to living and working with Lieutenant Uhura's wireless earpiece, Mr. Spock's Tricorder and Captain Kirk's communicator. Beam me up, Scotty!