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. 235
Friday April 21, 2006
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Name: Toshiba Qosmio G30/697HS
Category: Notebook PC
Price: Open Price; estimated around 400,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-May 2006
The Gist: Our first product this week is the "Qosmio G30/697HS,"
a notebook PC from Toshiba that is the company's first to
contain an HD DVD drive. HD DVD is one of two competing formats
(the other being Blu-ray) set to become the "successor" to DVD,
and since Toshiba is the primary promoter of HD DVD, this
announcement isn't exactly shocking.
Toshiba has stated that this is in fact the first notebook PC
to contain an HD DVD drive. In addition to being able to
read HD DVD-ROM discs, the drive can read and write to the
various DVD and CD formats. In other words, backwards
compatibility isn't going to be a problem for this or likely
any other HD DVD drive.
To show off the "HD" part of HD DVD, you'll be able to take
advantage of the G30's 17" widescreen LCD that has a resolution
of 1920 x 1200 dots. Two TV tuners are inside the G30:
terrestrial digital and terrestrial analog. Because of
this, you can record two programs simultaneously. The
integrated Harman/Kardon speakers should go well with support
for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, and DTS-HD.
One particularly nice feature of the G30 is its use of a
GeForce Go 7600 as a video card. This isn't exciting in of
itself, but when you combine this card with an HDMI transmitter,
the G30 can output a video signal over an HDMI connection --
in other words, it can double as a stand-alone HD DVD player.
You can count the number of stand-alone HD DVD players currently
available on one hand, so this is good news for the early
adopters who are still on the fence about going with HD DVD
Other specifications include a Core Duo T2500 (2GHz) processor,
1GB of memory, 240GB of hard drive space, and Windows XP
Home Edition as an OS. It's equipped with four USB 2.0 ports,
IEEE 1394, ExpressCard, Type2 PC card, Gigabit Ethernet,
802.11a/b/g wireless LAN, a modem, a card reader, mini D-sub
15 pin, S-video, and audio output. You'll get about three
hours of use out of the battery.
More info: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2006_04/pr_j1002.htm
Name: Toshiba gigabeat S
Category: Portable audio/video
Price: 30GB: 36,000 yen; 60GB: 46,000 yen
Release date in Japan: April 28, 2006
The Gist: Also from Toshiba is the "gigabeat S," the latest
model in their "gigabeat" line of portable audio/video
players. You can choose between a 30GB model (S30, available
in Piano Black, Pure White, and Crimson Red) and 60GB model
(S60V, available in Piano Black) of the gigabeat S, so as
usual Toshiba isn't skimping on the capacity for the units.
Toshiba has developed a habit of putting nice screens on the
gigabeat players, and the gigabeat S is no exception. The
2.4" color LCD with a resolution of 240 x 320 dots puts the
screens of many other players to shame.
For the first time in the gigabeat series, the gigabeat S
supports video playback. It's nothing too fancy -- videos
must be in the Windows Media Video format and under 800kbps,
but it's certainly enough to enjoy a quick clip here and there.
You can use Windows Media Player 10 to convert most common
video formats into Windows Media Video. JPEG still images as
large as 9000 x 6000 are also supported. If you choose to
pick up the 60GB model, you'll also enjoy the use of a video
output jack for piping these videos and images to your TV.
The gigabeat S players can, of course, handle audio files.
They'll take WMA, MP3, and WAV files, and WMA 9 Lossless is
also supported for those that demand the highest quality.
The 60GB model also contains an FM tuner.
"Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Center" is the
name of the operating system used by the player. It is
apparently designed to produce an experience very similar to
Windows XP Media Center Edition, so if you're familiar with
Windows XP MCE, you should have no problems getting through
the menus and navigating through your files. The internal
battery lasts about 12 hours for audio or 2.5 hours for
video, and is recharged via USB.
More info: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2006_04/pr_j1001.htm
Name: Nagase Industrial APX-300
Category: Home audio
Price: 17,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available
The Gist: Nagase Industrial's latest is the "APX-300," a
home audio receiver created for DLNA networks. The player is
fully compatible with DLNA standards, so it will be able to
access audio files from any DLNA device on the same network.
There aren't too many DLNA-compatible storage devices on the
market right now, but in time, it will be nice to see
devices such as this one be able to bring home multimedia
networking together under one umbrella of standards. It can
connect to your network with a wired connection
(100BASE-TX/10BASE-T) or wireless connection (802.11b/g).
The APX-300 supports the playback of MP3, WMA9, AAC, Real
Audio, Ogg Vorbis, and PCM audio files, so it should be able
to handle pretty much anything you throw at it. It can also
deal with Windows Media DRM 10. Unfortunately the output
capability seems limited; it is equipped with only RCA analog
audio connectors, and no optical or coaxial digital
connectors. We suspect this has something to do with DRM --
it's unlikely Nagase would put Windows Media DRM support in
the product, yet throw in a digital audio output so you can
create your own (un-DRMed) perfect copies of the songs.
Included with the APX-300 is the "Ultimate CS" DLNA server
software for PCs. Just in case you feel like throwing some
sort of bizarre codec at the APX-300 (maybe VQF or something
more obscure), Ultimate CS will handle all of the transcoding,
then push the audio on its way. Although the APX-300 itself
doesn't have any video playback capabilities, Ultimate CS
does, so it seems someone at Nagase was thinking of the
future when they designed the software.
Just in case you run out of music, the APX-300 can also
receive internet radio. Through cooperation with the "vTuner"
net radio guide, you'll be able to browse through genres of
internet radio and listen to them whenever you choose.
SUBSCRIBERS: 8,554 as of April 21, 2006
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (email@example.com)
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