GW-225

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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. 225
Friday February 10, 2006

1. RWC mTune
2. Sun Denshi TalkMaster 2
3. Keian Personal Storage Disc

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: RWC mTune
Category: Headphones
Price: Open Price; estimated around 8,980 yen
Release date in Japan: February 2006

The Gist: RWC's new "mTune" headphones allow you to use
your iPod nano or iPod shuffle in style. Each pair of headphones
has a slot that fits one of the players, enabling you to use your
iPod without ever having to worry about cables.

The mTune series is adjusted for the audio properties of the iPod
shuffle or nano, which works out to a maximum output of 250mW,
and frequency response from 20 Hz to 32 kHz. They also don't
require their own power source, and can be folded up for easy
storage. Finally, they can be used as a standard pair of
headphones with the included audio cable, but what fun would that be?

The shuffle version of the mTune is, of course, white in color, and
the nano version is in black. Either way, the headphones feature
a slot at the top of the right headphone's housing -- simply insert
your iPod, and you're ready to go. There's even a small hole in
the side of the housing, allowing you to access your iPod's controls.
So rather than being concerned with cables, you can concern
yourself with being mugged; there appears to be no locking
mechanism that holds the iPod in place.

More info: http://www.rwc.co.jp/release/mtune.html

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Sun Denshi TalkMaster 2
Category: Portable radio recorder
Price: 39,800 yen
Release date in Japan: February 22, 2006

The Gist: Sun Denshi announced the "TalkMaster 2," a "portable
radio recorder." This is the first product we've seen in this category
for quite some time.

The TalkMaster 2 series records AM and FM radio broadcasts in
the MP3 format. A number of models will be available, with the
1GB model at around 39,800 yen.

You're probably scratching your head at this point. "Why would
someone pay 39,800 yen for a 1GB radio recorder? Aren't there
already tons and tons of cheaper MP3 players that record radio
broadcasts in the MP3 format?" You'd be right in asking this
question, as it is surely one Sun Denshi has faced before.

Where the TalkMaster 2 sets itself apart from other MP3 players
is its ability to schedule recordings for certain times. Up to
20 timers can be created; users can specify times, days of
the week, and even make adjustments for exceptions in the
recording schedules. Another nice feature is its ability to detect
the NHK-FM time broadcast signal, so it can automatically
adjust its internal time. It's also important to point out that this
unit can record from both FM and AM broadcasts into the MP3
format -- most MP3 players can't record from AM radio, let alone
tune into AM frequencies at all.

There you have it; those are the only real differences between
the TalkMaster II and a standard MP3 player with FM recording
features. We're not entirely sure that's worth the price difference,
but if you're extremely hardcore about recording your favorite
FM or AM broadcasts, this unit could be of significant assistance.
The TalkMaster 2 provides an SD card slot, so you'll be able to
add as much as another gigabyte of memory if necessary.
Files are recognized under the USB Mass Storage class,
so there are no worries about transferring things to and from
your PC. It can, of course, play MP3 files, but it can also handle
WMA files. You should see about 20 hours of playback from the
TalkMaster 2's internal lithium ion battery.

More info: http://suntac.jp/voicelab/talkmaster2_top/tm2_top.php

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Keian Personal Storage Disc
Category: SD memory card
Price: Open Price; estimated
around 4,000 yen for 128MB - 27,700 yen for 2GB
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: You may have already seen something like this from
other companies, but Keian is coming out with a hybrid SD/USB
storage device called the "PSd," or "Personal Storage Disc."

The PSd seems to be a normal SD card, but a small plastic
piece can slide, allowing it to fit directly in the USB slot of
a computer. There are a number of advantages to something
like this: it eliminates the need for some kind of card reader,
and it allows you to use an SD card as though it were
a standard USB memory device.

With a sustained read speed of 13.5MB per second and write
speed of 11MB per second, it shouldn't take too long to transfer
files back and forth. It will be available in 128MB, 256MB,
512MB, 1GB, and 2GB versions, with estimated retail prices
ranging from 4,000 yen to 27,700 yen.

More info: http://www.keian.co.jp/new_pro_hep/ksdusb/ksdusb.html

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SUBSCRIBERS: 8,544 as of February 10, 2006

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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