GW-243

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 243
Friday July 7, 2006

(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

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Name: Mikimoto Beans/NEO Tech i-theater
Category: iPod accessory
Price: Open Price; estimated around 29,800 yen
Release date in Japan: July 25, 2006

The Gist: From Mikimoto Beans comes the Japanese release of the "i-theater"
created by NEO Tech of Taiwan. It's amazing that NEO Tech managed to come
up with a new iPod accessory -- it seems virtually every aspect of the iPod has
been "accessorized" in one way or another.

The i-theater is a head-mounted display that includes an iPod connection cable.
Taking a step back for a minute, think about why this might be useful. All new
iPods have video capabilities, and they are positioned to be portable audio/video
players. Of course, for the video playback to be useful, the user is required to
look at the screen of the iPod.

Not anymore. By plugging in your i-theater head-mounted display to your iPod's
connector jack, the iPod's audio and video output will be sent over to the i-theater.

The two 2" screens (one for each eye) only have a resolution of 320 x 240 dots,
so we can't imagine anyone would get hours and hours of use from this device on
a daily basis, but it's a decent accessory for those who want a bit more privacy for
watching video on their iPod.

More info: http://www.mikimoto-japan.com/beans/beans_hmd/next/products/i_theater/i_...
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Name: Pegaso EZ-80WP
Category: Earphones
Price: 19,800 yen
Release date in Japan: July 15, 2006

The Gist: In Gadget Watch #221 we covered the "AudioBone" earphones from
Pegaso that employ bone conduction technology. "Bone Conduction" is where
sound is transmitted through the skull into the inner ear, rather than having to
travel through the air into our eardrums.

That's all fine and dandy, but for those of us who don't have trouble hearing, there
really hasn't been any advantage to using Bone Conduction headphones over normal
headphones.

Because sound needs a medium to travel, even previous waterproof earphones
haven't been very good at transmitting sound; underwater there isn't really any air,
so the sound would have to travel through the water. Previous waterproof earphones
even posed a risk to divers, because earplug-style earphones created a space
where the air pressure couldn't be the same as the space around it. They also
couldn't get good frequency response because of the water.

If you've ever been underwater and tried to actually hear something, you probably
already understand where this is going. Because Bone Conduction uses the wearer's
skull as a medium for the transmission of sound, the technique can be used just
as effectively underwater. So here you have it: the world's first headphones effective
for underwater use. The company said that you're able to hear a full range of sounds,
from deep bass to high frequency pitches. Throw your audio player in a waterproof
case and you're ready to dive with some tunes.

They can also be used on land, or even in the vacuum of space.

More info: http://www.vibone.jp/wp/index.html
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Name: Creative ZEN V, ZEN V Plus
Category: Portable audio/video
Price: Open Price
Release date in Japan: Unknown

The Gist: Creative Japan is set to release the "ZEN V Plus" and "ZEN V" portable
audio/video players within the near future. There aren't any details about price or
release date available yet, but given Creative's previous offerings, it's safe to assume
they'll be at least "competitive."

It comes as no surprise the ZEN V Plus is the bigger brother of the ZEN V. Besides
the playback of video files and an FM tuner on the V Plus, there isn't any difference
between the two lines. The V Plus is available in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB capacities
in black and white, and the V is available in 1GB and 2GB capacities, also each
in white and black.

The V Plus can only play video files that were created with the included "Creative
Video Converter" software. You'd want to use this software anyway: since the
screen of the device is a 128 x 128 dot organic EL display at 1.5 inches, putting
high resolution video on it would just be a waste of capacity. That's because the
added resolution of a standard video also means bigger file sizes.

Anyway, the audio capabilities of creative are out in full force on the ZEN V line.
They support the playback of MP3, WAV, and WMA (with or without DRM) files,
and have a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz. There's an 8-mode preset for
the equalizer, and a user EQ.

The devices include Creative's "Creative Media Explorer" software which can be
used for transferring music. Interestingly enough, Creative Media Explorer also
supports the transfer of Outlook data, such as your calendar, to-do lists, and
address book.

Other features include direct WMA recording at 128kbps or 160kbps, and ADPCM
voice recording.

The battery should allow for about 15 hours of audio playback, or 2 hours of video
playback. Recharging is done via the same USB 2.0 connection and will take
around 6 hours.

More info: http://jp.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/releases/welcome.asp?pid=12561
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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)

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