GW-169

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 169
Thursday November 18, 2004
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

==================== Holiday Shopping =====================
Tired of explaining to friends back home all the contradictions that come with
living in Japan? This holiday season, let Chin Music Press do it for you. Send
your friends our new book, Kuhaku & Other Accounts from Japan, a steaming
nabe of stories about modern Japan.

You can buy the book here: http://www.chinmusicpress.com
Or from Amazon: http://tech-geeks.org/tiny.php?url=1364
Or from any of these bookstores: http://www.chinmusicpress.com/store/indie.html

Happy holidays!

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Name: Fujitsu General LPF-D711
Category: Home theater projector
Price: 2,415,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Late November, 2004

The Gist: Although far, far beyond my price range, I was keen on Fujitsu
General's new "home theater" projector. I am puzzled as to why Fujitsu General
would aim it for the home theater market, as I don't know anyone who would spend
so much money on a projector, but I'm (pretty) sure their marketing department
knows what they're doing.

With an extraordinary cost comes an extraordinary feature set. While you're probably
not too impressed by the 1920 x 1080 resolution (and therefore support for Full HD,
1080p), I had to research to find out how to express the next figure -- the LPF-D711
is equipped with the capability to display an unfathomable 10 quintillion shades of
color. Exactly how the projector determines which of those colors is appropriate,
I know not. But that's not important. Being able to display so many shades of color
also enables the projector to have a 3,300:1 contrast ratio. You'll find HDMI,
Component, Composite, S-Video, DVI-D, and a slew of other inputs (or outputs) on
the reverse of the projector's body.

More info: http://www.fujitsugeneral.co.jp/jpn/news/2004/11/04-N06-18/index.html
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Name: Aiwa XDM-S710BT
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open Price; estimated around 28,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 1st, 2004

The Gist: One of the industry's first Bluetooth compatible portable audio
players comes from Aiwa, in the form of the XDM-S710BT. Equipped with a
now measly 256MB of memory, you probably won't be toting around your entire
MP3 collection inside of the player -- but that's not the point of the S710BT.
Instead, Aiwa wants consumers to have a "phone/audio player" integrated
experience; the player doubles as a phone receiver thanks to a Bluetooth
connection to supporting cellular phones. Even when listening to music,
incoming calls will be routed to your headphones, meaning you won't be missing
anymore calls because you like to blast your music while on the train.

For those of you wondering where you're supposed to speak into, and how you're
supposed to know who's calling, Aiwa can answer both. The S710BT is equipped
with a microphone, and the phone numbers of incoming callers will be displayed
on the player's LCD. As you can see, we've got quite a lot of Bluetooth-related
integration going on here; perhaps another company will come along in the next
few months with a MP3 player that has a decent capacity? Still, for the
"30 minute to 1 hour commuter," 256MB should be suitable.

More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200411/11-1111/
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Name: Sharp BD-HD100
Category: Blu-Ray recorder
Price: 320,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 9th, 2004

The Gist: Sharp is the first company to introduce a Blu-Ray recorder that also
contains a hard drive, and they've named it the "BD-HD100." I was expecting a
clever Japanese product name, but I've been disappointed.

To refresh your memory, Blu-Ray is a next-generation optical disc format similar
to DVD, but promising a higher capacity (currently a maximum of 50GB for dual
layered discs, versus 8.5GB for dual layered DVD discs). Sharp joins Blu-Ray
backers Panasonic and Sony to become the third company to produce a recorder.
The BD-HD100 itself isn't exactly something to write home about, but as it is
the very first Blu-Ray recorder to contain a hard drive, we felt it was newsworthy.
It's also got a DVD recorder, for those of you who are into that sort of thing.
It does have a few redeeming features -- digital dubbing between each of the
three mediums (such as hard drive to DVD, DVD to Blu-Ray, and so forth), upscaling
480i video to 1080i, and 8 different recording modes -- but it's probably not
something people would be willing to make such a heavy investment in. Sure, we'd
like the ability to convert 5 DVDs to a single Blu-Ray disc, but not for this
price. Expect Sharp and many other companies to unveil plenty more (hopefully
cheaper) Blu-Ray devices in 2005.

More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/041111-a.html

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======================== LLOYDS TSB BANK =========================
The GoLloyds service offered by Lloyds TSB Bank is used to remit funds to
pre-registered beneficiaries overseas from any of Japan's 28,000 ATMs. GoLloyds
offers most major currencies at very competitive exchange rates. The service fee
is a highly competitive 2,000 yen. Please visit http://www.golloyds.com for further
details.
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Subscribers: 6,668 as of November 18, 2004

STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)

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