Young, free and connected

Another personal communicator hits the US market, but this is one for the on-line chat generation.

Unusually, the Sony Mylo (or ‘my life on-line’) offers its services for free – its core offer is as an instant messaging device that can use any open WiFi network. It lets you send messages, listen to and share music, browse the Web, send e-mails and view photos. You don’t need a PC or a monthly contract, so it’s quite a compelling idea.

Its youth-oriented, soft, space age aesthetic flouts the current trend of the roundtangle, but Sony has been careful to keep the main body colours on-trend (black and white) while providing nightclub excitement with neon-strip accent details. The landscape format reduces phone connotations and allows for a usable keyboard. But, it has no SIM card, and no option for one, so it will only operate on ‘open’ or free WiFi networks, which are still rare even in the US. It will be limited to use around homes and on school and college campuses.

With a large proportion of the target market already owning a mobile phone, Sony appears to have missed a trick. Especially for a launch in the UK, the Mylo might have presented a much more powerful offer as a smart phone for teens.

Nina Warburton is director of Alloy Total Product Design

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