GW-217

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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. 217
Monday December 12, 2005

1. Princeton PKV-02MM KVM switch
2. minipc.jp CF700
3. Creative Zen Neeon

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Name: Princeton PKV-02MM KVM switch
Category: Peripheral
Price: Open Price; estimated around 18,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Mac mini owners may use the machine as a secondary PC,
be it secondary to another Mac, PC, or Linux box. These owners are
faced with a bit of a dilemma -- the Mac mini is small enough to fit
into their current desk configurations, but wouldn't having a second
computer require a second keyboard, mouse, and display? Devices
called "KVM switches" (for Keyboard, Mouse, VGA) have been around
for several years, enabling one keyboard, mouse, and display to serve
required functions for two machines.

The environments in which you employ a KVM switch remain the same,
but the hardware has changed quite a bit. Old KVM switches were
mostly hardware-based, so removing and reconnecting components
often required a restart before the operating system would detect
them again.

These days the "PKV-02MM" represents some of the latest KVM
technology available. In addition to being able to share a display,
keyboard, mouse, set of speakers, and USB devices between two computers,
you can actually use them on two computers (one Windows, one Macintosh)
at the same time. We're not sure this feature would be useful for
something like a mouse, but it does save you from having to flip
the switch for your printer, for example.

What's also nice about the PKV-02MM is its form factor. It has the same
dimensions as the Mac mini itself, so it can sit quietly, directly under
the machine. If you've been looking for a nice and subtle KVM for your
Mac mini, this looks like an excellent place to begin your search.

More info:
http://www.princeton.co.jp/news/info/news_contents/200511181802.htm

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: minipc.jp CF700
Category: PC
Price: Open Price; direct sale price 57,540 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Speaking of the Mac mini, a company called "minipc.jp"
has one-upped the machine with their debut product, the "CF700."
The CF700 is a barebones system intended to house a Pentium M
or Celeron M, but does so in style: its body is 20% smaller than
that of the Mac mini.

Sadly, there's no space for an optical drive in the unit -- your only
hope for drive expansion is a 2.5" drive bay (and if you can find
an optical drive that fits in a 2.5" drive bay, let us know). Some
of you out there would actually prefer to drop the optical drive
in favor of a smaller form factor, and given other manufacturers
have already introduced Mac mini-sized PCs with optical drives,
we commend minipc.jp for their ability to recognize a market for
this product. After all, if you're using a machine like this
for home theater applications, you certainly don't want to hear
an optical drive spin up and down as you try to watch your movie.

The CF700 uses an Intel 852GME chipset, has a front side bus of
400MHz/533MHz, and can take up to 1GB of PC2100/2700 memory.
It connects to the 2.5" hard drive via the Ultra ATA/100 interface.
Besides two USB 2.0 ports, integrated Ethernet, a serial port (for
some reason), and mini D-Sub 15 pin, it has a Mini-PCI slot
for adding functionality (an 802.11b/g card, for example). Minipc.jp
also plans to offer built-to-order models, for those of us who don't
feel like hunting down necessary components in the deep, dark corners
of Akihabara. Watch for desktop PCs to become "coffee-tabletop PCs"
over the next few years.

More info: http://minipc.jp/product/cf700/

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Creative Zen Neeon
Category: Portable audio
Price: 512MB: 14,800 yen, 1GB: 18,800 yen, 2GB: 23,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-December 2005

The Gist: Creative introduced flash memory versions of the "Zen Neeon"
portable audio players, in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB capacities. The 5GB
version of the "Zen Neeon" was released in June of this year, and a 6GB
version followed soon after, in September. This new player is not only
(understandably) lighter, but adds a two-color organic EL display. The
512MB model has a purple case color; the 1GB model, blue; and the
2GB model, silver.

Creative also took advantage of the flash memory and increased the
battery life -- with 32 hours of playback time, the new players have
double the life of hard drive-based models. Recharging shouldn't take
longer than six hours, and can be carried out via USB.

The new models can also be modified with what Creative are calling
"Stik-On Skins," which are placed directly on the body to add some
artistic flavor. One Skin is included with each player. "Stik-On
Special Packs" will be available mid-December. These include
matching key chains to go with each skin at 880 yen.

On the audio end of things, the player remains largely the same as
its hard drive brethren, such as support for playback of MP3, WMA,
and WAV. It can record from FM radio and voice, and the voice
recorder feature automatically recognizes and eliminates periods of
silence in the audio.

More info:
http://jp.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/releases/welcome.asp?pid=12266

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SUBSCRIBERS: 8,540 as of December 12, 2005

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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