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. 174
Thursday December 29, 2004
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Name: IO Data ED-NAME32
Category: USB Memory
Price: Open Price
Release date in Japan: Late January 2005
The Gist: As though Japan didn't have enough USB memory
products already, here's one more from IO Data Device: the
ED-NAME32 is both 32MB USB memory device and name stamp.
What is a name stamp, you ask? Any of our readers with
first-hand experience in Japan are likely familiar with
"hanko," or "inkan," which both translate as a "name stamp."
These can be considered a replacement for your personal
signature, as is commonly used in Western cultures -- for
example, opening a Japanese bank account generally requires
use of a name stamp, as does receiving a package delivery.
So you'd want to have your "signature" on you at all times,
right? Indeed, you would. A name stamp is just another thing
to carry around. Since you'll also theoretically be carrying
around a 32MB USB memory device, why not combine the two?
Admittedly, I find 32MB quite skimpy for these days, but
hopefully IO Data will be coming out with higher capacity
models in the near future. One interesting feature of the
ED-NAME32 is the included software called "Den-In Pasopon
Lite," allowing the stamp to act as a sort of "electronic
stamp" when connected to the PC. I'm somewhat baffled as
to exactly what that entails, but it certainly sounds
More info: http://www.iodata.jp/news/2004/12/ed-name32.htm
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Name: Neon Genesis Evangelion Edition iPod
Category: Portable audio
Price: 47,250 yen
Release date in Japan: Orders close on January 19, 2005
The Gist: A fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion (or "Shinseiki
Evangelion" because it doesn't sound so bizarre) would be
hard-pressed to not be interested in the latest gadget to
come from Bandai Networks: The Neon Genesis Evangelion
Edition iPod. While the hardware of the unit (Unit-0i?) is
the same as other iPods, such as the 20GB capacity, it
includes a few elements of Evangelion branding: a NERV logo
laser-engraved on the metal finish of the iPod's reverse,
a screen protector with a NERV logo, and even a case designed
to look like a plug suit.
Only 2,000 units will ever be produced, so this is surely to
become a collector's item. Don't expect to see the Eva iPod
in stores anytime soon, though; orders will only be taken
via Bandai's LaLabit Market or Bandai Chara Store sites.
More info: http://www.bandai-net.com/pressrelease/top_20041215.html
Name: Nintendo "Play-yan"
Category: Portable A/V
Price: Estimated around 5,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-February, 2005
The Gist: Nintendo has announced the "Play-yan," a
portable SD card-based MPEG-4/MP3 player for the
Gameboy Advance SP. I was somewhat stunned by this
announcement -- sure we've seen other offerings from
a few different companies now when it comes to video
playback on the Gameboy. But Nintendo? I didn't
expect this, and I don't think most other people did
either. This announcement particularly struck me as
interesting because of the stance Nintendo has taken
against Sony's Playstation Portable, which features
multimedia capabilities such as MPEG-4 and MP3 playback.
Nintendo stated earlier that they "[do] not consider
the PSP to be competition." So, Nintendo, why would you
then go and announce a MPEG-4/MP3 player for the Gameboy?
Getting back to the "Play-yan" itself (whose name makes
sense in Japanese), it appears to be a solid unit. As no
SD cards are included in that 5,000-yen estimate, however,
I suggest you don't take the price too lightly. Nintendo
has yet to go into great detail as to which MPEG-4 formats
will be supported by the Play-yan (for example, DivX, XviD,
and H.264 are all varieties of MPEG-4), but this sort of
information is expected to be made clear as the February
release date closes.
As you would expect with any cartridge that supports the
Gameboy Advance SP, it is also supported by the Nintendo
DS. However, Nintendo is upfront about one particular
shortcoming: it cannot take advantage of the dual-screen
setup of the DS. Not that I'd want to have a large gap
between two parts of my movie, but hey, whatever floats
More info: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/n08/avp/index.html
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Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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