Day after Thanksgiving I went down to the Millenia Mall to prove that I'm not afraid of Black Friday shopping (but I must say the perpetual line around the corner at Starbuck's was a bit unsettling). In the tech wing (seriously, there is an import gadget store, a Sharper Image and SonyStyle all in a row) I came across the awesome Nokia N93 for $999 and something I didn't think I would like: the Sony Mylo. I haven't bought one yet, but it is on my Christmas list.
The Mylo is a personal communicator, meaning it does a lot of stuff hip phones do without actually being a phone. Using WiFi for connectivity, you can surf the web with a real Opera web browser, IM with Yahoo or Google, and the big sell in my eyes -- Skype. Since I know people who live in England, I want to call them without paying international calling rates. I can also see this as a cell phone replacement in the home or office on top of the on-the-go abilities. Considering Skype WiFi handsets retail between $189 and $299, the Mylo at $349 is not bad when you think about all the extra functionality it has, and the big surprise...
OK, here's the skinny: until the end of the year, Mylo units bought from Sony include a free year of T-Mobile HotSpot access! I mean, that's a $30-a-month service if you agree to a year, so this unit pays for itself even after you consider taxes. Did I mention this thing plays movies and music off of memory sticks too? It comes with 1GB of flash, and you can add a memory stick up to 8GB, meaning 9GB of space. That is plenty for video podcasts and a couple of TV shows, which is what I would use it for.
If public buses or subways had wifi, this device would be great for commuters. A little chat, some music, some light blogging, maybe the morning news, and if the bandwidth is good, a Skype call or two, all without paying a greddy cell phone company. Amazing!
The downsides: No camera, which I think is a major lacking feature from this unit and the PSP (and just about any other device). I don't have a camera that uses memory stick, so my next camera will need to be a Sony, which I guess is a long term buy-in on my part. Also, the device is designed to work with Windows, not Mac, but I'm not that worried. We have Smart Folders and a healthy community of developers working hard on all the little things that make it more fun to own a Mac.
I can't stress enough the value of the free year of wifi at every Starbuck's, Borders, countless hotels, and most of the airports in Florida. The T-Mobile HotSpot deal is the the last straw for me. I just hope this device still exists in a year, and the next version comes with a camera. Please?
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