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. 130
Thursday, February 5, 2004
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)
========================== SEMINAR ==================================
Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - February Seminar
Mike Alfant, President of Building2 and Chair of the High Technology
committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, will be
presenting, "Keeping Six Inches of Water above Your Head!"
Date: Tuesday, February 3rd http://www.ea-tokyo.com
========================== CONFERENCE ================================
Economist Conferences presents:
FOURTH ROUNDTABLE ON HEALTHCARE REFORM IN JAPAN
Taking the pulse of patient-centred reforms
February 10th 2004, Tokyo
Discuss key issues for IT providers
Assess the business opportunities for IT and internet providers within
the healthcare system
Gain insights into the financial impact of IT on the running of
Name: Nikon Coolwalker MSV-01 & Coolpix8700
Category: Digital imaging
Price: Coolwalker MSV-01, approx. 60,000 yen; Coolpix8700, approx.
Release date in Japan: Coolwalker MSV-01, June 2004; Coolpix8700,
Feb 14, 2004
The Gist: The Coolwalker MSV-01 is a neat portable storage device
intended for viewing photos on the move and not having to mess around
with a PC. About the size of a regular PDA, it has a huge 30GB hard
disk, allowing for 10,000 photos (at 2MB each), and a 2.5-inch TFT LCD
screen for your viewing pleasure. The Type II CF slot can accommodate
a Microdrive, making it easy to transfer photos from the Coolwalker to
any other digital widget, and the unit can be hooked up to a TV if you
prefer not to squint at the widdle LCD screen. It'll cope with JPEG,
TIFF, Motion JPEG WAV and Raw NEF (Nikon proprietary) files and uses
USB2.0 (the faster version) to transfer them all over to a computer.
Nikon has also announced an 8-million pixel, 8-times optical zoom
digital still camera, the Coolpix8700, for the pros amongst you. It's
the successor to the Coolpix5700, allows lenses to be switched and
should retail for around 130,000 yen. Is it just me, or is that
astonishingly cheap? Yowsers!
More info: http://www.nikon.co.jp/
============================ IT PROGRAM ==============================
Temple University Japan presents "The Temple IT Program".
Certification in two key IT areas: Computer Programming and Software
Study to get a great job in IT, retrain to improve your career in IT,
assess and raise IT staff technical skills. Courses based on
leading-edge course content from iCarnegie (Carnegie Mellon
More info: http://www.tuj.ac.jp/itp/newsad.html
Name: iRiver iMP-550
Category: Portable audio
Price: 17,800 yen
Release date in Japan: now
The Gist: Those lovely people over at iRiver have just made available
a Beta firmware upgrade for any gadget-holics smart enough to have
bought one of the company's iMP-550 portable audio players (which is,
incidentally, the world's slimmest, at 13.7mm!). Basically, they're
delivering on the "Firmware Upgradeable" promise they made when the
machine came out -- good for them! Already capable of playing MP3 and
WMA, and with an integral FM tuner, once you download and install the
firmware upgrade, the iMP-550 CD player will also be able to cope with
the new audio compression format, Ogg Vorbis. But what is Ogg Vorbis,
I hear you cry. Is it a new band? Does it have anything to do with the
deadly chicken flu? No, it isn't and it does not.
Instead, according to the format's Web site: "Ogg Vorbis is a
completely open, patent-free, professional audio encoding and
streaming technology with all the benefits of Open Source." Lovely.
The words "Patent and license-free" should be music to the ears of
digital sounds fans, because it means you don't have to pay anything
to use the files. Not only that, but the guys who run the Vorbis thang
also claim that it "sounds better than MP3." Not that they're likely
to claim anything else. So with the iMP-550, you get the best of both
worlds. All worlds, sorry.
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Name: Matsushita ZR6Y/2VB
Price: 360 yen for two
Release date in Japan: April 1, 2004
The Gist: Er, these are "Next Generation Batteries." But don't laugh
-- how many of the portable gizmos you own DON'T take batteries?
Exactly. No batteries, no-good gadget. Using cunning new production
processes and spanky new materials for the anode, Matsushita reckons
these "Oxyride" babies will last twice as long as regular alkaline
ones -- the Viagra of the electronic world, then -- if used with
power-hungry gadgets such as digital cameras. Their performance in
less juice crazy stuff, like MP3 players, apparently only gives a 50
percent boost or so, but that's still better than, say, no boost at
all, right? And it's all only taken 40 years. At this rate, I'll be
long dead before the third generation ones arrive. Anyhow, the new
batteries will cost 360 yen for two -- 'course, the release date IS
April 1st, so it could all be a horrible joke.
Stay Competitive - Relocate
How does a company cut costs without slashing its workforce? If it
operates in Tokyo -- the world's MOST expensive city -- relocating
part of its operation can save money fast.
Wakayama offers software development divisions, cheaper offices, lower
personnel costs, and subsidies and support from the prefectural
government. To find out more, visit
Name: Plus Vision V-1100Z Limited
Price: Open (but approx. 250,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: January 20, 2004
The Gist: If you've always dreamt of converting one of the rooms in
your house into a home movie theater but the wife will only let you
have the hall closet -- or, indeed, you live in a typical Japanese
"mansion" apartment -- Plus Vision has just the thing for you! About
the width of your outstretched hand, the V-1100Z unsurprisingly claims
to be the world's smallest DLP projector! At 180ﾗ165ﾗ45mm and 1.1kg,
it really is absolutely tiny. While its V-1100Z sibling was aimed
directly at business users, the company hopes the V-1100Z Limited may
gain a slightly wider audience, sacrificing a bit of brightness (down
from 1000 ANSI lumens to 800) for improved color reproduction. Also,
it's hoped the inclusion of a D-Sub15 convertor cable in the box will
make the projector appeal more to home users. Otherwise, the Limited
edition is pretty much the same as the V-1100Z (1024x768-dot DLP chip,
1.2x optical zoom lens, 2000:1 contrast ratio, etc). And it's
available in either metallic red (yay!), or boring old white.
More info: http://www.plus-vision.com/
Subscribers: 5,066 as of February 5, 2004
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