Japan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 263
Monday December 4, 2006
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Name: Thanko Gold Bullion Hub
Category: PC peripheral
Price: 5,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available
The Gist: Fool your friends and family for just a few seconds
with Thanko's new "Gold Bullion Hub."
There isn't a whole lot to explain here. It's a USB 2.0 hub
with eight ports for plugging in your USB devices. The thing
even weighs 2.35kg (5.18 pounds), so you can plug/unplug
devices with one hand. Of the eight ports, one of the ports
is only for supplying power (some "USB" devices don't actually
transfer any data -- they just plug into a USB port for power).
The Gold Bullion Hub runs off bus power or the included AC
adapter. The top of the bar reads "GOLD INGOT HUB." 5,980
yen isn't exactly cheap for a USB hub, but this is far from
your average hub.
More info: http://www.thanko.jp/goldhub/
Name: Epson Endeavor ST100
Category: Desktop PC
Price: 50,400 yen
Release date in Japan: Late December 2006
The Gist: The Epson Endeavor ST100 isn't much bigger than
the Thanko Gold Bullion Hub. In fact, it's almost the same
Measuring 75 x 185 x 195mm, the ST100 actually resembles a
Mac mini with its ultra-small form factor. On the left and
right side of the case are air intakes, and the ventilation
is actually on the back -- so you can place the PC horizontally
or vertically and it will work just fine.
Though the CPU, memory, hard drive, optical drive, and
operating system of the ST100 can all be customized via
Epson's website, the low-end (50,400 yen) configuration
features a Celeron M 410 at 1.46GHz, 256MB of memory, a 40GB
hard drive, and Windows XP Home Edition. At the high end
(239,000 yen) is a configuration with an Intel Core 2 Duo
at 2.33GHz, 2GB of memory, 160GB of hard drive, and Windows
Any variation of the ST100 features an ATI Radeon Xpress 200M
graphics chipset, six USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, mini D-Sub 15
pin, two PS/2 ports, audio input/outputs, and a TPM security
More info: http://www.epsondirect.co.jp/st100/
Name: Sharp Papyrus PW-TC900
Category: Electronic dictionary
Price: Open Price; estimated around 50,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 8, 2006
The Gist: It looks like even electronic dictionaries are
falling victim to convergence. Love it or hate it,
convergence is cropping up everywhere these days; watches
with MP3 players, MP3 players with video players, video p
layers with video games, video game consoles with web browsers,
web browsers with instant messaging software, and instant
messaging software with videoconferencing. Does the chain
Electronic dictionaries have somehow managed to avoid
convergence, for the most part. It's only been in the
past year or so that companies have started to add things
like MP3 playback, JPEG image viewing, TXT file reading,
and other "multimedia" functions to electronic dictionaries.
The latest is Sharp's "PW-TC900" in the "Papyrus" line of
electronic dictionaries: it's the first in the industry to
feature an integrated One-Seg tuner.
One-Seg broadcasts began on April 1 of this year in Japan.
We've covered several devices here in Gadget Watch with
One-Seg capabilities. Sharp's PW-TC900 bridges the gap
between multimedia devices and electronic dictionaries
by offering an interesting mixture of features.
The dictionary side of the device primarily focuses on
business terminology, with selections such as "Super
Daijirin" for Japanese, "Personal Katakana Dictionary"
for those who missed learning words of foreign origin,
"Genius English/Japanese Dictionary" and "Oxford Modern
English Dictionary" for English, and "New Economics
Vocabulary Dictionary" for business terminology. In total,
there are 40 books on the device, ranging from travel
information to computer terminology. The Super Daijirin
dictionary even contains 1,000 color images, and you can
now sift through your results by picture.
On the multimedia side, apart from the aforementioned One-Seg
broadcast reception, the PW-TC900 also handles XMDF, TEXT,
JPEG, and even MP3 files. These contents can go on an SD
card as large as 1GB.
And all of that is displayed a 4.3" color ASV LCD screen,
with a resolution of 480 x 272. In fact, if you have a Sony
PSP, you already own one such screen; Sharp supplies the
Mobile ASV screens used in Sony's handheld. The screen
can rotate 180 degrees, and be folded down to the unit
again, allowing you to easily watch your One-Seg broadcasts
without having to expose your dictionary's keyboard to the
world. The three "usage styles" -- "Dictionary Style," "TV
Style," and "Hand Style" -- just refer to the different
positions you'll probably end up using the device in different
The internal lithium ion battery drives the unit for 20
hours, but if you're watching One-Seg stuff, it drops to
More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/061120-a.html
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Written by: Liam McNulty
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