Monday, September 18, 2006

MYLO and Zune

Hello everyone!

So I have had about a week to play with the Sony MYLO, in between my crazy little life, I was able to use the MYLO in my home, at the Dr's office, and at a cafe. Yeah! Now the features, which I am sure you all know, are this:
Communication - IM your friends using Yahoo!, Google and Skype; make VoIP calls using Skype
Web - browse the web
Music - listen to your tunes, and share with other MYLOs
Photo - look at photos - no camera
Video - watch videos you download to the MYLO from your computer
Text - take notes my brothers!
What's Up - a screen that lets you instantly see which of your buddies are online

So what do I like about the device? Here is a top line. If you are looking for a device that lets you make Skype calls (save those cell minutes!), IM and listen to music, this may be the right investment for that $350 burning a hole in your pocket. More details below.

Being the sole owner and bill payer of my cell phone bill, I really like that I can make free calls on the MYLO thanks to Skype. Skype is currently running a promotion where you can use Skype to call any cell or landline number in the US for free. And I have made a number of calls, and most have reported that the audio sounds like you're on a cell phone, not perfect, but pretty good. On the MYLO end, the person on the phone sounds crystal clear, so that is pretty impressive.

As for the QWERTY keyboard, the fingerpad is a little tiny, and takes getting used to, but once you do, it'll make your thumbs some strong contenders in the thumbwrestling competition 2007. The keyboard makes IMing extremely easy.

As for signing into Yahoo!, Skype and Google, I have noticed that logging into these guys is pretty quick and more dependent on your connection speed than the device, although, my laptop does beat the device by maybe 1-2 seconds. Really. That close. And that is IMing. For web browsing, well be ready to sit down, cause it's gonna take a minute.

As for setting up the trusted Wifi networks, MYLO makes it really easy, but once you tell it that this network is a registered network, well, it remembers the network whether or not it is available in your current location. That means that if you are in your home and wander out to a cafe, MYLO will try and connect to the web via your network before it tries the other ones it finds at the cafe. But that is easily by-passable by just clicking down to the open networks on the available lists.

It's got 1 GB memory and a slot for expansion. It's got the most useful command buttons on the face, similar to the Danger Sidekick, but there are things that are not so super with this crazy little Wifi Device.

And it comes in two color choices: Black with gray accents, and White with Orange accents.

For one thing, I really don't like that it isn't compatible with flash, so you can't surf sites like You Tube nor IM your AIM people on AOL Express (AIM's backdoor IM answer to not being able to download software onto your computer). Also, you cannot download songs directly from the web onto your MYLO, you have to download it onto your computer then transfer to your MYLO. And that goes for the pictures and videos too. Trust me, I tried. Even though they said it couldn't be done, you gotta give it the old tech toys go! The speaker on the device can pump out the audio just well enough to hear it outdoors, but I wouldn't say you can leave your headphones at home...And did I mention that it comes with a headset and mic for your calls?

But using their 'Ad Hoc' program, you may listen to and view the music, videos and photos of other MYLO users in the area. Plus you can see their profile (if they have made it public) and you can chat directly to those in your area. Talk about a new way to stalk! Yeah.

the battery life is decent; I have been using it to browse the web, chat and make calls for about 7.5 hours and am on my last battery bar. The only thing that I do not like is the ability to power down the screen sooner to preserve the battery. It's on auto, and a very long auto setting it is. And there are two settings, long and forever, so your choices are limited.

And as of yet, you cannot text to cell phones, but as Skype is rolling that out, the Sony Rep I spoke with told me they will be providing software updates so that may be coming to a MYLO near you soon.

All in all, the MYLO is an incredibly simple device to use. The interface is incredibly user friendly and has all the little things you may want. It is again targeted for areas that have wifi, like college campuses, certain cities like Philly, Sunnyvale, etc. and as more cities become hot spots, this device will find more and more homes.

Since I live in LA, we are some of the least tech savvy in the state, and there hasn't been a big push for city-wide Wifi, but a girl can dream. So for now, since I have gone over my cell minutes for the last year of my life, I think spending $350 to be able to make calls through Skype (aka Free) and surf the web for free while I am at home or out and about is looking pretty good right about now.

And if the Sony rep is reading this, yes, I would like a MYLO, and I would like the White and orange one please.

tomorrow I meet with the Microsoft people where I will get the skinny on Zune. Will it knock the socks off me? That's the million dollar question....

I am taping an episode of The Ellen Degeneres tomorrow, where I will talk about all these devices and more and it will most likely air Wednesday.

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