J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 106
Saturday, July 5, 2003
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Name: Sharp LC-22AA1
Price: 250,000 yen
Release date in Japan: July 1, 2003
The Gist: Sharp has released a whole new range of its sexy Aquos
televisions, all with a built-in 1-bit digital amp (i.e. they sound
ace). The flagship 30- and 37-inch models claim a world's first by
incorporating a digital high vision tuner, capable of a 1,366x768-dot
display, and the 30-inchers put out a stunning 1,280x768-dot image.
That's OK if you have half a million yen to drop on a new TV. If you
don't, you might want to take a look at the LC-22AA1; a 22-inch
widescreen model with a low-reflection, super-black TFT LCD display,
putting out an 845x480-dot image, viewable thru 170-degrees in both
planes and with a contrast ratio of 500:1 and brightness of 450cd/m2.
The AA1 has a built-in BS and terrestrial TV tuner, virtual Dolby
surround sound piped out through what Sharp calls an “under speaker”
(although all that actually means is it's positioned underneath the
screen) and GRT, whatever the hell that is. It could be ghost
reduction technology, but I might have made that up. And it's
table-ready, at only 10.2kg.
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Name: Cube51 CPU PC
Price: 99,800 yen
Release date in Japan: orders taken from June 20, 2003 (from Sofmap
The Gist: They're those funny looking Cube PCs, and they're wearing
their summer colors. Ah, ain't that sweet? But, more accurately, the
cube actually comes with 7 different "face plates," which its owner
can easily switch, as the mood takes him. Or her, probably. And those
colors are: Sunshine Yellow, Classic Red, Dolphin Blue, Forest Green,
True Black, Passion Orange, Pearl White. Lovely.
The small-footprint (200x300x185mm) Cube PCs incorporate an "Ice
Technology heat pipe" in the casing to keep the cubic PC cool as well
as silent and, possibly less importantly, there's a bunch of different
models for you to choose from, depending on your needs. The
sub-100,000 yen Cube51 CPU PC has a Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU, 256MB of
RAM, a 60-gig hard drive and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, which is a great
And if that's not enough computing va va voom for you, check out the
Cube51-CPH, toting a 2.66 GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of PC2100 DDR
RAM (expandable to a max of 2GB), an 80GB hard disk, FX5600 128MB
GeForce video card, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, all for 129,800 yen.
All cubes have Ethernet and (three!) Firewire, or IEEE 1394 ports, a
USB 2.0 socket and run on the Windows XP Home Edition OS. The new
Cubes will be sold initially on the company's Web site, then in the
stores themselves from the 28th.
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Name: HeavyMoon naviPod TT-NI-01/02
Price: Open (but approx 7,980 yen)
Release date in Japan: early July 2003
The Gist: HeavyMoon has just come up with a wireless remote control
unit for use with Apple iPods. We've been having a think about this
and can only assume that a wireless remote control unit for a
handheld, portable audio player might be necessary for people who, for
example, have such hugely fat fingers that, once they've slipped their
iPod into their coat pocket, the sheer diameter of their pudgy digits
prevents them from stuffing them back in there to retrieve the unit.
Or, perhaps, they're so used to using a remote for the TV, that they
want to walk into their living room, put the iPod on the unit next to
the TV, then walk somewhere else -- back to the sofa, say -- and use
the wireless remote to spark it up. As opposed to, and clearly this is
a ridiculous notion, keeping the handheld, portable iPod near their
actual hands and using said hands to operate the unit.
Anyhow, once the "naviPod receiver" infra-red receiver unit is
connected to the iPod, owners can use the "naviPod controller" (see
what they did there?) to wirelessly control the iPod. Because the
connectors changed when the iPod models changed, there are two
versions of the naviPod -- the TT-NI-01 for first and second
generation iPod owners, and the TT-NI-02 for the third gen iPod. Next
week, we'll be bringing you transparent sheets of plastic to fit over
your car windscreens. Because we can.
Name: Fujitsu FMV-BIBLO LOOX T60D
Release date in Japan: mid August 2003
The Gist: Whether it's going to help or hinder the widespread adoption
of Wi-Fi -- and the debate appears to be still raging -- Fujitsu has
already announced 802.11g-compatible drivers for three of its
"FMV-BIBLO" laptop PCs: the LOOX T60D, NH28D and MG17D/A. Trouncing
802.11b's 11Mpbs speed with a (lab proven) rating of 54Mbps, 802.11g
is the super Wi-Fi alternative that is possibly faster and probably
has more range than 802.11b. I'm sitting on the fence because whether
that's true or not very much seems to depend on who you ask and, in
fact,the theoretical speed of 54Mbs is more likely to translate to
about 22Mbps in practice. Whatever, the standard has been approved by
the Institute of Electrical Engineers, so we're going to start seeing
a lot of product that can accommodate the new radio LAN standard.
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