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Sony upgrades Mylo pocket communicator

Sony has updated its Mylo pocket communicator with the new model offering a larger display, a touchscreen and a bigger keyboard, among other things.

The Mylo, which is only available in the US but could come to Europe later this year according to a Sony spokesperson, is a portable communicator that connects to the web via Wi-Fi. It's launching soon for $299 - $50 cheaper than its predecessor.

The original version, released in the US in October 2006, received mixed reviews, but Sony hopes a number of new features could help the Mylo become the must-have gadget for teenagers and students.

As well as the larger screen (3.5in) and new backlit keyboard, the second-generation Mylo includes a 1.3-megapixel camera and a new widgets feature providing direct access to popular online destinations such as Facebook and YouTube. Links to five sites a pre-installed, and more can be downloaded from Sony's website. The dimensions are nearly the same as before, but slightly thinner, at 5.16 by .82 by 2.55in

But Sony believes a deal with US wireless hotspot firm Wayport will do more to convince consumers to buy the device than any of the hardware and software improvements. While the original Mylo came with a one-year contract for free access to T-Mobile's wireless hotspots, the new model offers a two-year deal with Wayport, an operator with Wi-Fi networks in McDonalds and airports across the US.

The innovative Rolly music player – which meshes robotics and audio into one - is also on show at Sony's CES booth. It has built-in speakers and 2GB of flash memory for storing music. Notably, it has a self-motion function so the Rolly can dance to its own beat; the unit even includes software so you can program motion data. The gimmicky device can also stream music from any Bluetooth-enabled device.

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