updated 09:25 am EDT, Tue August 8, 2006
Sony Mylo Communicator
Sony has previously tried to attack the iPod's dominance head-on: arguably, much of the current Network Walkman lineup is inspired by the concept that a simple, stylish player is the ticket to the digital audio player market. Today, Sony decided to make an end-run around Apple altogether by striking at the weak spot of many teens and college students: social networking. The Mylo is still very much a media player if you want it to be, since it can handle multiple audio and photo formats as well as MPEG-4 video. There's 1 GB of built-in flash storage and (of course) a Memory Stick Duo slot if you need more. But the Mylo's real selling point is the ability to chat with your friends anywhere you have an 802.11b access point: you can send text messages through Google Talk and Yahoo, make phone calls with Skype, and browse the web through a portable version of Opera (presumably to check your friends' MySpace pages). There's a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that Sony hopes will lure people away from their cellphones and Danger Sidekicks. You'll be able to pick one up in September for about $350 - expensive, but potentially worthwhile if you don't want to be tied to a laptop just to listen to music and send IMs at the same time. See a complete photo after the jump.