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. 246
Saturday July 30, 2006
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)
Name: SolidAlliance Self-Destruct Button with Sound DX / USB 2.0 Hub
Category: USB hub
Price: 5,250 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available
The Gist: At some point or another, we've all wanted to
destroy our computers. From the classic "This program
has completed an illegal operation and will be shutdown"
after spending hours working on an Excel spreadsheet to
the notorious (though antiquated) Blue Screen of Death,
computers can enrage us like no other modern technology can.
For 5,250 yen, SolidAlliance has a new USB hub that also
acts as a self-destruct button for your computer. On the
top of the hub are two switches -- after flipping these
switches, then turning the key, a lock will be removed,
enabling you to open the self-destruct button cover. Of
course, it's a red button with a light inside. Push the
button, and you'll be met with a satisfying "BOOM" sound
effect. Fortunately, nothing actually explodes.
There are four USB 2.0 ports on the hub, and it operates
off bus power.
More info: http://www.solidalliance.com/press/press.html#0718
Name: Digital Cowboy MovieCowboy DC-MC35UL2
Category: Home audio/video
Price: Open Price; estimated around 24,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available
The Gist: Digital Cowboy has updated their "Movie Cowboy"
networked media player device for your home theater system.
The update primarily revolves around the inclusion of a new
chipset, enabling it to play high-definition content.
The MC35 offers an Ethernet port for connecting to your home
network, but if you're not in the mood, there is also a 3.5"
drive bay for inserting a hard drive. Once the hard drive is
installed, you can copy files to it by USB 2.0 or over the
network by installing NDAS drivers.
Loaded with a new chip from Sigma Designs, the MC35 can now
handle the playback of high definition DivX, Windows Media
Video 9, and MPEG-2 TS video. These videos are put out to your
TV over a newly added DVI interface. Of course, the unit also
supports non-HD content, such as MPEG-1/2/4 and DVD-Video for
video, MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, and WAVE for audio, as well as
JPEG, PNG, and BMP for still images. Say that three times fast.
More info: http://www.digitalcowboy.jp/products/mc35ul2/
Name: Sanyo Xacti DMX-HD1A
Price: Open Price; estimated around 90,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Late September 2006
The Gist: Speaking of high-definition video, Sanyo's new
"DMX-HD1A" camcorder should do the trick for all of your
personal video recording needs. It's the successor to the
"DMX-HD1" (see Gadget Watch #222) released earlier this year,
adding SDHC support.
For those who aren't familiar, SDHC is a new standard of Secure
Digital card that stands for "Secure Digital High-Capacity."
There are no SDHC cards with capacities below 4GB. Furthermore,
SDHC cards must offer a data transfer speed of at least 2MB per
second. The SDHC format was necessary because the original SD
specification allows for cards only as large as 2GB. Don't go
buying an 8GB SDHC card and assume it will work in your digital
camera. Unless your camera specifically supports SDHC, the card
As you can imagine, high-capacity flash memory cards become a
necessity when you begin working with high-definition video, such
as that video recorded by the DMX-HD1A. Understandably, the 4GB
card virtually doubles the user's recording space -- at the HD1A's
highest video quality setting, you're able to fit a respectable 57
minutes and 34 seconds on a 4GB SDHC card.
The HD1A has a total of 7 recording modes, the highest being a 9Mb/s
video at a resolution of 1280 x 720 and 30 frames per second,
dubbed "HD-SHQ." There are various settings, from 640 x 480 down to
320 x 240. If you feel like recording 320 x 240 video at 15 frames
per second, you'll find that 4GB card can fit a lengthy 15 hours and
18 minutes of video under "Web-HQ." It's also nice to see the return
of the "TV-HR" setting, enabling users to take 640 x 480 video at
smooth 60 frames per second.
Still images can also be recorded using the HD1A, and since it has
a 5.1MP image sensor, the images can be as large as 3680 x 2760.
Through some kind of technological miracle, you are also able to
record these still images while recording even high-definition
Other improvements to the unit include an enhanced battery life,
taking the continuous recording time from 60 minutes to around 75
minutes. The organic EL screen has been swapped out in favor of a
LCD screen, though it remains the same size.
More info: http://www.sanyo.co.jp/koho/hypertext4/0607news-j/0721-1.html
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (email@example.com)
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