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Sony Mylo Communicator 2 takes aim at teens

Sony Electronics introduces the Sony Mylo Communicator 2, a Wi-Fi messaging device aimed at teenagers.

Sony Mylo COM-2
Sony Mylo COM-2 Sony

The Sony Mylo is back (remember that little Wi-Fi messaging device?), and it's looking a little more mature and wiser after learning some lessons the first go-round. Available later this month for $299, the Sony Mylo Communicator 2's got a new look and more features, including AIM support and YouTube support, but is it all enough to lure the young'uns? Meh, we're not so sure.

Starting with the design, I have to say I'm liking the changes. I actually got some brief hands-on time with the handheld before CES, and while it's slightly bigger and heavier than its predecessor, at least it doesn't look like a Fisher-Price toy anymore. It feels more solid, too. The Mylo COM-2 also features a larger 3.5-inch touch screen with a sharp 800x480 resolution and improved full QWERTY, backlit keyboard. There will be a black and a white model, but you can add some flair with Sony's optional removable faceplate packs. You will have a choice of red with gold or blue with pewter and cost $20 each.

As for features, the Mylo COM-2 has made some nice additions there as well. There's the aforementioned AOL Instant Messenger integration (in addition to Yahoo and Google Talk); full YouTube support and Adobe Flash support; direct downloads and uploads; a 1.3-megapixel camera with built-in photo editors (no video recording capabilities yet); increased 1GB of internal memory; and customized widgets. The built-in media player continues to play MP3, AAC, ATRAC, as well as WMA (secure and unsecured) music files and MPEG4 videos. In addition, you can now listen to podcasts and subscribe to RSS feeds.

So, OK, we've got a better design and cool new features, but will this thing find its way into the hands of Sony's target audience of 14- to 22-year-olds? I think there will be a small market for it, and I'll give credit where credit is due. The touch screen looks amazingly sharp, and the Mylo is great for Web browsing, viewing pictures, and instant messaging. However, my problem with the Mylo COM-2 is the same as I had with the first one. With Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) as the only option for connectivity (i.e., no cellular), is it going to be able to compete with a T-Mobile Sidekick or a Helio Ocean? Yes, you can make calls via Skype. And yes, Sony doesn't intend this to be a replacement for your cell phone. However, why carry two gadgets? What am I missing here? Anyone have a Mylo now? What's your experience been like?