GW-194

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G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 194
Thursday June 9, 2005

1. iRiver H10 Junior
2. Sharp DV-HR500
3. IO Data Device AVMC321-B/W

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Name: iRiver H10 Junior

Category: Portable audio
Price: 24,980 yen for 1GB; 19,980 yen for 512MB
Release date in Japan: Late June 2005

The Gist: Drop a hard drive from an MP3 player, slap in flash
memory, and what do you get? "Junior." iRiver Japan
announced the "H10 Junior" players this past week, which
contain the same features of the H10 but in a smaller package
thanks to the magic that is flash memory.

Sure, you may not get the big hard drive to store hundreds and
hundreds of songs, but what the H10 Junior lacks in capacity, it
makes up for in size (or "unsize", but you get what I mean). It is
a centimeter narrower, millimeter thinner, and two centimeters
shorter than the H10, and about half the weight.

Believe it or not, the rest of the player manages to remain largely
the same. It retains the touch panel operation of the H10, the
MP3/WMA/OGG/ASF support, ID3 tag display, and even TXT/JPG
viewing. You have your standard run of FM tuner and encoding
options, but I think it's gotten to the point that we can just assume
all new players have those. Breathe a sigh of relief while you're
sitting there assuming, because Junior comes with a 40-hour
battery life from its integrated lithium ion polymer battery.

Personally, I welcome this product with open arms. It's great to
see a company take a tried and true product such as the H10
and offer a smaller, more "refined" version.

More info: http://www.iriver.co.jp/company/press.php?article=176&cUrrent_pAge=

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Name: Sharp DV-HR500

Category: Digital video recorder
Price: Open Price; estimated at 80,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 13, 2005

The Gist: Sharp's new "DV-HR500" is a hybrid recorder with
a 250GB hard drive capacity (I see what they did there...)
and DVD-R/RW drive.

Just saying that wouldn't be worthy of news, but many reading
this probably know of the Japanese obsession with LCDs; the
DV-HR500 thus offers a "Title Window" providing program title
information of the show currently recording, playing, or otherwise
being viewed. The designers also felt it important to implement
"Media Circle," a three-colored system that shines a white
backlight in the LCD for standby, blue for playback, and orange
for recording. You can bet your bottom yen it's a Japanese product
when you have LCDs with more than one backlight color. Or,
when a tuner that can receive "BS" is considered a feature.

There's unfortunately not much else exciting to say about the
DV-HR500; it stocks run-of-the-mill recording features such as
Dolby Digital, up to 12 hours of constant recording to the hard
drive, and a memory bank to store up to 65 scheduled recordings.

More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/050601-a.html

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Name: IO Data Device AVMC321-B/W

Category: Digital video camera
Price: 19,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Late June 2005

The Gist: I was surprised to see IO Data Device's announcement of
(what I believe is) the world's first digital video camera capable of
recording in the XviD video format.

For those of you that missed it, "XviD" is one of many versions of
MPEG-4 video compression. You may be familiar with "DivX." XviD
is a largely open-source format, so I presume the person that was
coming up with the format decided to take a stab at the
commercialized DivX video format.

At just a hair under 20,000 yen, the AVMC321-B (for black) or -W (
for white) offers a fantastic range of recording options. Because of the
XviD format, a whopping 60 minutes of 320 x 240 video can be stored
on a mere 256MB SD card, for which this camera has a slot. If you're
not into resolutions as low as 320 x 240, feel free to bump things up to
either 1.8Mbps or 1.0Mbps streams with 640 x 480 dots. Given the
"dirt cheap" levels to which flash memory card prices are falling, you're
looking at quite a lot of high-quality video storage for a low cost.

As if that were not enough, the AVMC also offers still-image recording
in three resolutions: 2976 x 2232, 2048 x 1536, and 1024 x 768.
IO Data didn't skimp on the photo features -- macro recording up to 21cm
is possible, as is rapid-fire mode with five pictures in 1.5 seconds.
You even get a flash, though it does seem a bit bizarre to have on a
digital video camera.

The AVMC also features 16MB of internal memory for those emergency
recordings. Since the camera will be recognized under the USB Storage
class by any modern PC, getting video off is a no-brainer. MP3 and PC
camera functionality is also provided, for those of you into that sort of thing.

More info: http://www.iodata.jp/news/2005/06/avmc321.htm

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

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.

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