The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 209
Thursday October 6, 2005

1. Fujitsu Ten AVN7905HD
2. Elecom MS-77U
3. Sony Aibo ERS-7M3

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Fujitsu Ten AVN7905HD
Category: Navigation unit
Price: 315,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 1, 2005

The Gist: Fujitsu Ten has announced a new model in their
"ECLIPSE" line of car navigation systems numbered the "AVN7905HD."

The 7905HD is the world's first consumer product to take advantage
of a new technology from Sharp called "Dual Display," which allows
two different images to be simultaneously viewed on the same
screen by looking at the screen from a different angle. In the case
of the 7905HD, it means the driver can see a map on the screen,
but at the same time, the passenger is watching a DVD. Dual
Display works through a technique called "Parallax Barrier,"
which divides light coming from a screen into two different
"channels." Used in conjunction with the LCD's own ability to
display individual pixels intended for the different channels,
the end result is two different images coming from the same
screen. Unfortunately the Parallax Barrier technique has some
downsides. First of all, because you're physically blocking
some of the light coming off of the screen, its brightness is cut
in half. You also lose half of your resolution; the 7905HD's screen
is 800 x 480, but if you decide to use the Dual Display feature,
what one person views will only be 400 x 480. That being said,
it's nice to allow people to compromise on resolution instead of
having to compromise on what they're watching.

The 7905HD also happens to be a well-featured navigation system,
with an integrated 30GB hard drive, DVD drive, analog TV tuner,
MiniDisc deck, and Memory Stick slot. The "Music Juke" function
will rip CDs to the internal hard drive in the ATRAC3 format, and
around 2,300 songs can be stored. MP3 fans are also in luck,
as the optical drive supports not only DVD Video discs, but Audio
CDs and CD-R/RW discs with MP3/WMA files stored on them.

Fujitsu Ten also plans on releasing an optional terrestrial digital
tuner called the "DTV105."

More info:

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Elecom MS-77U
Category: Desktop speakers
Price: 4,410 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Elecom introduced the "MS-77U" speakers this past
week, a USB version of the "MS-77" 2-inch cube speakers for
desktop PCs.

Available in black, silver, and white models, the MS-77Us are also
powered by your computer's USB port. Since both audio and power
travel via a single cable, they make quite a stride towards reducing
clutter on your desk.

But the foremost feature of the MS-77Us is their size (or lack of it);
at only 2 inches in every direction, they could go virtually unnoticed.
That is until you turn them on -- Elecom equipped a blue LED to
the bottom of the speakers, so they'll have a sort of blue glow on
the underside while you're using them.

The internal amplifier has a maximum output of 0.5W x 2ch, so don't
expect a whole lot of power from the speakers. There's also
a headphone jack, just in case. The MS-77Us are supported under
Windows and MacOS.

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Sony Aibo ERS-7M3
Category: Robots
Price: 194,250 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Much to the surprise of those of us who figured the Aibo
would get nixed in the recent Sony restructuring plan, the company
announced a completely new version of the robotic dog last week
named the "ERS-7M3."

As far as hardware is concerned, the 7M3 is the same as the 7M2.
Well, that's besides the color variations; the M3 will be available in
"Honey Brown," in addition to the current "Pearl Black" and
"Pearl White" colors.

What is improved with the M3, though, is its software. Not only has
the included Aibo-only Memory Stick been upgraded to 128MB
(versus 32MB of the M2), Sony has introduced the "Aibo Mind 3"
software that offers improved communications abilities. While
the M2 Aibo offered a vocabulary of about 200 words, the M3 offers
around 1,000 sentences. Accordingly, the M3 now supports RSS
feeds (an XML-based technology used for syndicating websites)
and can read news items back to you, bringing an extremely geeky
new meaning to "fetch the newspaper."

Another new feature of the M3 is the "Aibo Photo Diary," which
stores a photo diary consisting of automatically recorded images
on the Aibo that can later be uploaded to the Internet. Some basic
functionality of the Aibo has also been improved; it has a mapping
technology that allows the Aibo to use a sort of short-term memory.
If, for example, you ask the Aibo, "Where is the ball?" it can point
to the ball. An upgrade kit will also be offered to current Aibo 7M2
or 7M owners for around 11,000 yen.

More info:


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Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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