By Craig Zammit and James Wells

SYDNEY: Sony Australia could announce the local release of a new handheld WiFi based entertainment and communication device called Mylo, as early as tomorrow at its bi-annual Experience More event in Sydney.

Yesterday Sony announced the release of the $US350 handheld device which is designed to make VoIP phone calls; view, listen and store music and images and even browse the internet with email and instant messaging capabilities.

Mylo, otherwise known as My Life Online, is to be aimed squarely at younger, technologically savvy consumers with a
penchant for online communication.

A spokesperson for Sony Australia contacted today by claimed not to have heard of the device and claimed the acronym sounded like a familiar brand associated with an additive to create chocolate milk.

Mylo features a slide-out thumb-operated QWERTY keyboard, 1GB flash-based memory with an additional memory stick slot, 2.4-inch screen and will come with Skype, Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger and JiWire all pre-installed.

“The Mylo personal communicator puts the fun parts of a computer in the palm of your hand. It’s ideal for people who want to stay connected to their online friends and family, but not be weighed down by a PC or buffeted by charges for IM and texting on cell phones," said Sony Electronics director, John Kodera.

Additionally, the Mylo personal communicator will detect when other Mylo devices are nearby, allowing users to instantly share play lists, stream music and swap files between devices.

Users will be able to create up to nine individual profiles on each Mylo device, and a social network of up to 90 people can be created and managed through the ‘presence management’ system.

No monthly subscription service or initial computer set up will be required to use the Mylo device which will also be able to play mp3, atrac3, secured and unsecured wma, mpeg-4, jpg and gif files.