GW-251 -- Rock an' Roll with ZMP's miuro

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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. 251
Friday September 8, 2006
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your
browser.)
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The Tyler Foundation for Childhood Cancer presents:
Sports Extravaganza 2006, September 29 - October 1.
Cricket and rugby celebrities from the UK, South Africa,
India, Australia and New Zealand will come to Tokyo for
3 days of sport, fun and fundraising! Sports Dinner at the
Grand Hyatt, Golf Day and Celebrity Cricket match.
All proceeds benefit children with cancer in Japan.
Shine On! www.tylershineon.org
For more information on the Sports Extravaganza 2006,
please see: http://www.tylershineon.org/index.php/events/sports_extravaganza
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Name: ZMP miuro
Category: Robot
Price: 108,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Shipping December 2006

The Gist: ZMP has begun accepting orders for their network
audio player/robot called the "miuro." It's an acronym for
"Music innovation based on utility robot technology," so at
least its name makes more sense than many of the others
we've seen come out of Japan.

The miuro is a two-wheeled audio player that rolls around
playing music for you. It's an interesting concept; the
robot connects to your existing wireless network (802.11b
and g are supported), and plays WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC, AIFF,
and LPCM music files stored on PCs on the network. It also
has a small dock for connecting to portable audio players,
and if you connect an iPod, you can select your song using
an included remote control. Internet radio is also
supported.

Miuro can easily move around your house with you too. It
has integrated gyroscopes, acceleration sensors, and
rotary encoders so that the middle portion always stays
upright. Furthermore, it can automatically adjust itself so
it is facing the correct direction. Of course, it's remote
controlled -- you can use the included infrared remote
control to drive the miuro around, or you can use a
wireless LAN connection to send it to pre-defined places.
ZMP plans to introduce an "autonomous movement package"
that includes a camera, distance sensor, and touch sensor,
enabling the miuro to make a "map" on its own. According to
the company, it will be the first time autonomous movement
is included in a consumer-level robot. Expect the batteries
to last around 3 or 4 hours.

More info: http://miuro.com/
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Name: Sharp AQUOS G Series
Category: LCD TVs
Price: 450,000 yen ~ 600,000 yen
Release date in Japan: 42", November 10, 2006; 46" & 52",
October 1, 2006

The Gist: In three sizes come Sharp's updates to the
"AQUOS G" series of LCD TVs.

All of the TVs use Sharp's "Black ASV LCD Full Spec
Hi-Vision Panel," which is a really lengthy way to say that
they all support Full HD (1080p) video. The screens have a
contrast ratio of 2000:1 (which is very high for an LCD),
and a brightness of 450 candela per square meter. There's
also a response time of only 4ms. Add in a viewing angle of
176 degrees, and you can see this LCD really represents the
latest that Sharp has to offer. A brightness sensor will
also automatically adjust the brightness of the screen to
match its environment.

On the sound front, you'll find a 1-bit digital amplifier,
enhanced LSI, and two-speaker placement options: on the
underside or on the sides. Note that you'll want to make
your selection beforehand; the "under-type" and "side-type"
are actually two different models.

The AQUOS G series TVs may not contain an integrated
digital video recorder, but they do feature "AQUOS
Familink" that allows you to control connected recorders
and sound systems through the HDMI connection. When you use
the AQUOS Surround audio system, for example, you can
control the system's volume and power using the TV. Those
who are slightly old school can also do something similar
when using components connected with i.Link.

More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/060831-b.html
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Name: Toshiba Qosmio G30 Series
Category: Notebook PC
Price: 300,000 yen ~ 400,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 9, 2006

The Gist: Shed yourself of yesterday's technology and
upgrade to Toshiba's new "Qosmio G30" series of notebook
PCs. Embodying everything represented by the phrase
"desktop replacement," the G30 series consists of two
models: the 300,000 yen "G30/795LS," and the 400,000 yen
"G30/797HS."

The 797LS is the beefier of the two machines, offering what
only those on the bleeding edge need -- an HD DVD-ROM
drive. HD DVD, as many of you are probably already familiar
with, is one of the formats fighting to claim the throne as
the successor to DVD. Toshiba is one of the primary
advocates of HD DVD, so it comes as no surprise they're
amongst the first companies in the world to pack HD DVD
drives in their PCs.

You'll also find the 797LS is equipped with a 17" LCD at a
resolution of 1920 x 1200, an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200
processor, 1GB of memory, 320GB of space, and integrated
terrestrial digital/analog tuner. Digital HD recording is
supported, and since it's a dual-tuner, you can record
digital and analog broadcasts at the same time. Some other
audio/video features include Toshiba's "Qosmio AV Center"
all-in-one TV/video/recording software, the "QosmioEngine"
that enhances video quality, and integrated 30mm
harman/kardon speakers. The notebook's interfaces include
HDMI, optical digital audio output, and S-Video output, and
it has a card slot that can accommodate most modern memory
cards.

If you're feeling cheap, or don't want HD DVD, you should
consider springing for the 300,000 yen 795LS. It offers
similar capabilities as the 797LS, but you swap the HD DVD
drive for a DVD super multi drive, the 1920 x 1200 screen
for a 1440 x 900 one, and get a whimpier processor, and
less hard drive space.

More info: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2006_08/pr_j3001.htm

==================== ICA Events - Sept 21 =================
Speaker: Andrew Perons, Manager, Risk & Compliance, Strata
Works K.K.
Topic: "Corporate Governance - The Changing Regulations and
Implications"

Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
(RSVP Required)
Date: Thursday, Sept 21, 2006
Time: 6:30 Doors open, buffet dinner included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members)
Open to all - Location is Foreign Correspondents' Club
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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)
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