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. 131
Thursday, February 12, 2004
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============================= EVENT ==================================
"5th Annual Japan's Int'l Banking & Securities System Forum 2004"
Date: March 18 - 19
Location: Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE)
This two day forum provides a better understanding of front, middle
and back office systems with its concentrated agenda. Invited guest
speakers will give their domestic & global outlook on STP/ Banking
& securities initiatives.
Also, leading solution providers will be presenting free Workshop
sessions presenting products & services in designing and implementing
a front/middle/back office strategy.
Tel 81-3-5805-6070, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gmacjapan.com
Name: Sony PEG-TH55
Price: Open (but approx. 40,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: Feb 14, 2004
The Gist: Sony has announced a new Clie with built-in wireless LAN
(IEEE 802.11b) and a camera as standard. The PEG-TH55 has a
320x480-dot TFT display and runs Palm OS 5.21 via the company's 123MHz
"Handheld Engine" CPU, but the best part is that it has both Bluetooth
and Wi-Fi (802.11b) built in. Shipping with 32MB of RAM, the TH55 also
takes a Memory Stick PRO, if you need more space.
The camera is a 310,000-pixel CMOS image sensor with adjustable white
balance (on a PDA!) and has a 2-times digital zoom.
The new Clie also has a transparent flip cover to protect the screen,
connects to a computer via USB (and infrared) and has both headphone
and external mike sockets. These things are great, aren't they? But
how on earth do you choose which one to have these days?
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Name: Focal DLO-IP-000010
Category: Portable audio accessories
Price: Open (but approx. 16,800 yen)
Release date in Japan: early Feb. 2004
The Gist: If the iPod handbag we talked about in GW a few months back
didn't really float your portable boat, but you're still looking for
what the marketing folk would undoubtedly call "additional portable
solutions" for your treasured fashion-victim MP3 machine -- sorry,
"portable audio player" -- the cunningly named DLO-IP-000010 may be
just the thing. The DLO-IP-000010 is basically an FM transmitter for
iPod in a hands-free car adapter holder thingy. And, in case you
haven't been paying attention over the past few months, what the FM
transmitters do is they allow you to play back your iPod tunes through
your car stereo (that is, they transmit the vibes to the FM tuner in
your car stereo), which is, of course, invaluable and what every iPod
But those same iPod owners may be alarmed to discover that if they
haven't recently blown their savings on their iPod and have one of the
first or second gen machines, Focal's new widget won't work. It's only
compatible with third-generation iPods, I'm afraid.
========================== 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: Marubeni Infotech D Cube NMP-612TD
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open (but approx. 36,800 yen)
Release date in Japan: end Feb. 2004
The Gist: Doing this every week, I get the feeling that either
Japanese consumer electronics companies only know how to make portable
MP3 players and digital cameras or, tragically far more likely, we,
the consumers, can't think of any better application of technology
than to take snapshots of our babies ("No, he is NOT just the cutest
thing I've ever seen. Now please, just leave, before I throw up") and
listen to the same music we listened to 20 years ago. My cold,
titanium-encased soul cries for our pitifully primitive brains.
Anyhow, I digress. Getting back to the subject in hand and, still
talking of FM transmitter gadgets, Marubeni has decided to launch a
new portable audio player (gasp!) with a built-in FM transmitter (gasp
squared!), manufactured by Nextway.
The new D Cube somewhat inevitably replaces its predecessor, the
NMP-612T/256, doubling the available integral memory to 512MB. It also
adds compatibility with both ASF and TVF files. If anyone knows what
they are, please, please do not email me. Tell your mum or something.
Again, the inclusion of the FM transmitter effectively makes the
little machine a wireless player, beaming the tunes across to your
home audio system or in-car entertainment (ICE) system. It's not a
one-trick pony, though, as it also has an integral FM tuner, can act
as a voice recorder and uses Nextway's (world's first, apparently)
"Direct Encoding" technology to, ahem, directly encode input from the
line in jack into MP3 format at a bit rate from 32 to 224kbps. It's
firmware upgradeable (a superb, but underrated feature), is OK with
Macs and, to connect to one of those or a PC, the USB jack cunningly
pops out of the main body. Cleverly, too, the 612TD model looks
strikingly similar to Apple's iPod players, all sleek white
Oh, and it's tiny, and weighs only 47g.
More info: http://www.nextway.jp
============================ IT PROGRAM ==============================
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Name: Sony NW-MS77DR
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open (but approx. 38,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: March 10, 2004
The Gist: I'm going to make this one quick, after that last tome on
Marubeni's player. But these gorgeously designed players from Sony are
always difficult to ignore. The MS77DR replaces the (yawn) MS70D,
released about a year ago now, and the biggest difference, according
to Sony, is that this one comes with a USB cradle. That's it. Thank
you and goodnight.
More info: http://www.walkman.sony.co.jp/
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Subscribers: 5,114 as of February 12, 2004
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