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. 137
Thursday, March 25, 2004
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Name: Toshiba MEG201
Category: Portable audio
Release date in Japan: April 9, 2004
The Gist: The gigabeat G21 is a LAN-compatible HDD portable audio
player housing a 20GB hard disk, IEEE 802.11b wireless capability and
can be picked up as a "set" package deal with Buffalo's WLI-USB-KB11
"AirStation" wireless LAN adapter for a little less than 5,000 yen
extra. It now comes with a USB cradle complete with 2 of the fast USB
2.0 ports (the Buffalo wireless widget plugs into the cradle) and the
amazing innovation of a "strap remote control." That turns out to be a
small button worked into the machine's neck strap that is, apparently,
a "first" for Japan. Woo-hoo!
The MEG201 has 28 equalizer settings (up from four) and is available
in "Cosmo Black" or "Mist Grey Metallic" finishes. Take a look at the
great design of these things. I actually prefer the black model.
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Name: Olympus CAMEDIA X-3
Category: Digital camera
Price: Open (but approx. 60,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: mid April 2004
The Gist: I've noticed that digital cameras are getting massively
endowed in the pixel sense but growing horribly boring looking. Many
of them are silver, sure, and that used to be a good start, but now
it's so common, it's enough to send you to sleep. I think Toshiba's
gigabeat in the previous story proves that black is the new silver on
the gadget scene when it's done right, but in the meantime every
consumer electronics company and his pet dog is producing brushed
aluminum boredom. Olympus' 6.1 megapixel Camedia X-3 is no exception
to this tedious rule, but it's admittedly a neat little machine,
bettering its (gasp!) X-2 predecessor with a higher CCD pixel count, a
closer macro-capability, a slightly larger LCD display/viewfinder and
an autofocus that does its job twice as quickly. The camera has a
3-times optical zoom, does movies at 15 frames per second and -- it's
getting pointless even mentioning this in digicam spiels these days --
produces massive images (a max of 2,816 x 2,112 pixels if you just
have to know). xD-Picture Card is the storage medium of choice, and
its compact little form weighs a trifling 198g.
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Name: Minolta DiMAGE G600
Category: Digital camera
Price: Open (but between 50,000 and 60,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end April 2004
The Gist: And here we have another one -- Minolta's similarly specced
silver-liveried effort is also a 6-million-pixel digital snapper with
a 3-times optical zoom, taking images at a maximum resolution of 2,816
x 2,112 dots and 15fps MPEG video. It's even about the same size -- a
tiny bit shorter -- than the X-3 and, as if you'd ever notice, 10g
heavier. But it could mean less time required down at the gym to lift
it, so that's a bonus, right? Interestingly, perhaps displaying a mad
fit of initiative, the G600 sports both an MMC-compatible SD memory
card slot as well as a Memory Stick slot, so you can choose your fave
storage medium if you opt for this one.
More info: http://konicaminolta.jp/
Name: E-Lets PC-M6100E
Price: Open (but basic kit approx. 54,800 yen)
Release date in Japan: mid April 2004
The Gist: At last! This month's winner of the "why hasn't that been
done before?" award is E-Lets, with the "Be Silent M6100" that does
exactly what it says on the carton. It's a fan-less PC that doesn't
sound like you've got an Apache attack helicopter landing in your
front yard when you boot it up, so now you can play all those games
(or, you know, whatever else you like to do on your PC late at night)
without risk of waking the wife and incurring her never-ending wrath.
(Apologies to any female readers here, but hey, you know it's the
The "bare bones" PC-M6100E kit is powered by an Eden 600MHz CPU and
boasts a CLE266 + VT8235 chipset with sound and graphics on board,
although that's about it. There are two Ethernet slots, loads of
speedy USB 2.0 ports (four, in fact) and the whole thing weighs 2.6kg.
Pay 30,000 yen or so more and you can get 256MB of RAM (expandable up
to 1GB), a 40GB hard disk and a CD ROM drive. Pay even more and get
Windows XP Professional so it'll actually do something. Woot!
More info: http://www.e-lets.co.jp/news/r_m6100.htm
Subscribers: 5,370 as of March 25, 2004
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