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. 175
Friday January 14, 2005
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Name: Sony Cybershot DSC-T33
Category: Digital camera
Price: Open price; estimated around 53,000 yen
Release date in Japan: January 21, 2005
The Gist: Sony's Cybershot DSC-T33 was introduced this past
week, and it looks to be just as successful as its older brother,
the DSC-T11. Although the T33 improves upon a couple areas such
as the LCD monitor and external appearance, it shares most
specifications -- such as the image sensor and lens -- with
However, that's certainly not a bad thing. At 20.7mm deep
(about .8 inches), the T33 is still easily pocket-able. It still
offers up a 5.1MP CCD, with a maximum recording resolution of
2592 x 1944, and can still record 640 x 480 MPEG-1 movies at 30
frames per second. It still features the "Magnifying Mirror
Mode" enabling users to record images of objects from mere
centimeters away. It still also uses Memory Stick PRO Duo or
plain old Memory Stick Duo.
So what has changed on the T33? Because neither T11 nor T33
offers an optical viewfinder, all photography must be aligned
using the LCD. Keeping with this, Sony has equipped the T33
with a "Clear Photo LCD," a type of hybrid LCD that offers
230,000 pixels in 2.5 inches. Those who have experience with
previous T series cameras will be first to notice the T33's
other area of variation: external appearance. Sony has equipped
the T33 with plenty of chrome, so you needn't worry about your new
digital camera not matching your new spinners. With hairline
construction processes used all across the camera, it is now
also offered in four color variations: gold, blue, brown, and
white. Inside your DSC-T33 package, you'll also find a cradle
and even a tripod.
More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200501/05-0106/
Name: Panasonic NV-GS150
Category: DV camera
Price: Open Price; estimated around 100,000 yen
Release date in Japan: January 25, 2005
The Gist: Billed as the world's smallest and lightest 3CCD DV camera,
Panasonic's new "NV-GS150" appears to be just that; weighing a mere 510g
(including a tape and battery), the GS150 measures only 71 x 123 x 73mm
(W x D x H). For us Americans, this means the camera is no longer
than 5 inches, no higher than 3 inches, and no wider than
3 inches. Impressed yet? No? Well, just wait until you see the
Much like the GS250 camcorder announced at the same time, the GS150
is equipped with Panasonic's independently developed "Crystal Engine."
While I can't find an explanation of exactly what this engine does
other than simply being "video processing circuitry," it certainly
makes for good marketing. Not the Gold Engine, not the Platinum
Engine, or not even world-renowned Seaborgium Engine, but the
In all seriousness, the camera IS equipped with an impressive optical
system. Light enters the camera through a 10x optical zoom equipped
Leica Dicomar lens, hits the three .8MP CCDs, and is either recorded
to DV tape or SD memory card. Or both; the camera can record still
images to the memory card while recording video.
The list of operational features goes on and on: one-touch switching
between recording and playback modes, joystick control, "One Touch
Navigation" to display frequently used recording/playback features
as icons on the LCD, and even the ability to display the menu in Kanji
and Hiragana characters.
Likewise, recording features are aplenty. When feeling like a true
theatrical experience, record using widescreen mode. When looking for
accurate skin-tone recording, use "Beautiful Skin Mode," leaving many
questions unanswered. Scientists will take interest in the "Telemacro"
recording mode, which fixes the zoom at 10x; from a distance of
about 40cm, recording will appear to be from a distance of 4cm. As with
most DV cameras these days, it features a "Color Night View" recording
mode so your videos won't look like Paris Hilton's. After you've
completed recording, hook the camera up to your PC with by either
Firewire (IEEE 1394) or USB 2.0.
More info: http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn050106-1/jn050...
Name: SASTIK -0MB Reloaded
Category: "PC Functionality Portability Device"
Price: 1,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available
The Gist: Brought to you by SASLITE, the SASTIK -0MB Reloaded is perhaps
one of the most innovative USB components to ever come out of Japan. And
we don't mean "innovative" in the sushi-shaped USB memory sense, we mean
"innovative" in the "introduction of new functionality" sense. It may be
shaped exactly like a (normal) USB memory device, and even functions as a
USB memory device, but the SASTIK -0MB Reloaded (hereafter, "SASTIK")
offers much more.
USB memory serves what purpose? Simple, portable, and reliable
transportation of files between USB-port-equipped computers, correct? Well,
at least that's why I thought they've become so popular.
Nevertheless, what happens when what you want to transport between two
computers isn't a file? You're hosed. This is where the SASTIK brings
its innovation to the table. By simply inserting the device into any Windows
computer equipped with a USB port and internet connection, not only can
you access 8MB worth of files stored on a remote server, but you can
also access your address book, email, favorites, logins to various websites,
sharing settings, and so forth.
This isn't a Remote Accessibility solution -- your home PC doesn't
need to be left on while you go on a business trip so you can
access its files -- SASLITE stores all of this data on their server,
meaning you can access it anytime, anywhere. While 8MB isn't exactly
a lot of storage, keep in mind that every file you drop "onto" the
SASTIK needs to be uploaded to (and in turn, downloaded from) SASLITE's
servers. Clearly, SASLITE does not intend the SASTIK to replace
USB memory devices.
Anytime I read, "store personal data on a server," I immediately
think of "security." This must be the case for SASLITE as well. For
example, what happens if someone gets his or her hands on your
SASTIK? Does that mean they have access to your entire address book
and email? While not 100% secure (not that anything is...) the
SASTIK offers file encryption and decryption capabilities, and can
even be password protected.
This is all fine and dandy, but what happens if you're using a
public computer, such as one in a hotel business center? Wouldn't
cookies or some such be stored on the host PC? SASLITE thought
through this as well. When you remove the SASTIK from the host PC,
all data will be removed. Star Trek fans can associate the SASTIK
with the Borg, in that any computer to which it is connected will
be "assimilated" to resemble your own PC, and when removed,
returned to normal (not that the Borg returned things to normal
after they were done). SASLITE gets extra kudos for aesthetics,
too -- another SASTIK function is the ability to change to a
specific wallpaper, so you needn't worry about missing your
favorite desktop background while using a different PC.
I could go on and on with the SASTIK's functionality; the concept
is one of those that makes you wonder why nobody had thought of
it earlier. What may be most attractive about the SASTIK -0MB
Reloaded is its price; all of these features can be had for
1,980 yen, or under $20 USD.
More info: http://www.sastik.com/sas1.html
Name: Evergreen D900SX
Category: Multiformat DVD Player
Price: Open Price; estimated around 10,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available
The Gist: Continuing with the "cheap and functional" roll we're
on, here's Evergreen's new vertical slot-loading DVD player, the
D900SX. Released on January 7th, the D900SX is atypical in three
aspects: it's cheap (about 10,000 yen), can play enough media
formats to feed an army, and has a D-Sub 15 pin output.
I believe the D900SX is amongst the first vertical-style DVD
players to support a range of media formats, and it certainly gets
off on the right foot. Equipped with the capability to play
MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, and XviD video files stored on DVDs and CDs,
Evergreen also proves a friendly member of the community by
actually providing users with a list of specific formats that
have been confirmed to play. As anyone who has had to deal with
players that allegedly "support" DivX and XviD likely knows,
this is a nice move on Evergreen's part; there is no longer any
doubt that the player can play specific files at specific bitrates,
framerates, or in certain audio formats.
The D900SX is a slot-loading DVD player, and it has a blue backlit
display to show information such as track, time remaining, and so
forth. Output jacks on the D900SX include a Component output,
Composite output, and even D-Sub 15 pin output, for connection
to your PC's CRT or LCD. The D900SX can indeed output Progressive
video from DVDs, so it's not as though DVD playback was an
afterthought. Nor was audio; the player is equipped with analog
2ch, analog 5.1ch, optical digital, and coaxial digital audio
output jacks. The on-screen display can be displayed in either
English or Japanese, and depending on whether or not the player
is Region Free, I suspect the low price, feature set, and design
of this player could make it popular with the international
community. One thing we could ask for is some sort of network support;
the D900SX is not equipped an Ethernet jack or wireless LAN capabilities.
More info: http://www.everg.co.jp/?contents=evergreen/dvd/eg-d900sx
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