Sony Mylo Built On Qtopia Linux

By James Alan Miller

August 22, 2006

But will Wi-Fi messenger be open or closed to third-party applications?

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Sony introduced mylo, "my life online," a couple of weeks ago. The new handheld is a Wi-Fi-based personal communicator that looks vaguely like Sony's Play Station Portable but is designed for messaging instead of gaming.

Unlike Sony's other new mobile device, the VAIO UX Micro PC (a full-fledged Windows computer) or its past mobile devices (the Palm-based Clie series) Brighthand reports mylo is built on Linux. Trolltech's Qtopia platform to be exact.

Qtopia’s user interface, file management, application launcher, handwriting recognition, etc. follows a paradigm well-known to mobile device owners that use other mobile platforms like the Palm OS, Windows Mobile and Symbian. It has been used as the OS for other mobile devices before, such as Sharp's Zaurus series of PDAs.

There's a lot of software available for Qtopia as well, which could be a big plus for Mylo users. That is if Sony opens up the system.

You see, Sony may have chosen to make mylo a closed system. Closed means users won't be able to load third-party software and open means they will.

While Sony has disclosed a lot about mylo already, it hasn't said anything about its open or closed status, which doesn't bode well.

As Brighthand points out, however, there is a community of developers and hackers who modify Linux devices for fun, sometimes to make them better for users, other times to push the envelope of what can be done; such as loading Linux onto a Treo 650.

So if Sony doesn't enable users to load third party software out-of-the-box, perhaps one of these guys will create a hack to allow users to do so down the road.

With Mylo, user can send instant messages via Google Talk, Skype or Yahoo! Messenger accounts - all free, no monthly fees involved. It omits the most popular IM client of all, AIM from AOL, as well as MSN.

It can handle voice-over IP calls using Skype as well - and Skype is allowing calls from the SkypeOut service to any phone in the U.S. or Canada for free (usually it's only free from Skype user to Skype user), at least for a while, after which you just pay for SkypeOut minutes.

The mylo has a 2.4-inch color screen for browsing JPEG photos, reading e-mails and Web surfing, or watching movies in MPEG-4 format. It's an MP3/WMA player (via a built in speaker or headphones), and will playback the ATRAC audio files. There's 1GB of flash memory wan a MemoryStick slot for up to 5 GB more.

Mylo's QWERTY thumb-keyboard is revealed when the top of the handheld slides upward. Put it close to another mylo and they seek each other out for an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection so you can IM or share music and photos.

It comes in black or white and has a database provided by JiWire of 20,000+ hotspots in the United States you can use to get mylo online.

The battery supposedly runs for 45 hours of music playback, seven hours when online, or three hours when talking with Skype. Microphone, headphones, USB cable and a neoprene case are all included. There's no camera.

It'll sell for $350 starting in September.

Story courtesy of PDAStreet.com



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