GW-272 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H

READ GADGETWATCH ONLINE AT:
www.japaninc.com

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 272
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Subscribers: 9467
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Name: Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V8
Category: Digital still camera
Price: Open Price; estimated around 45,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 14, 2007

The Gist: The latest from Casio in their Exilim line of digital
cameras is the "Hi-ZOOM EX-V8". It's the successor to the EX-V7,
released back in February, featuring an upgraded CCD, new face
recognition technology, and a special "YouTube Recording Mode".

While the EX-V7 offered plenty with its 7x optical zoom, H.264
video recording, and CCD-shifting anti-shake features, the EX-V8
takes things a step further. The new CCD offers 8.1 megapixels
instead of 7.2. The V8 takes a cue from Casio's Exilim EX-Z1200
as well, with the inclusion of Oki's "Face Sensing Engine" image
processor. The processor enables the camera to keep subjects'
faces in focus even if they move after focus lock has already
been obtained.

The most curious feature of the EX-V8 is the "YouTube Recording
Mode", and Casio has even gone through the trouble of getting
YouTube's permission to use their name and logo within the camera
itself. While YouTube already offers the capability to
appropriately rescale/reformat videos so they play properly, this
new mode makes uploading videos from the camera directly to
YouTube possible in only two steps.

If you find yourself needing higher quality video, the camera can
record videos as large as 848x480. Not to mention the fact that
the camera records the video in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. So whether
you're looking at the recording resolution or the video codec,
the EX-V8 can actually do better than DVD, as the standard for
DVD-Video is 720x480 in MPEG-2.

Other features include a maximum sensitivity of ISO1600 in High
Sensitivity Mode, support for SDHC cards, 11.8MB of internal
memory, 2.5-inch LCD monitor, auto focus, various "Best Shot"
configurations for images and video, and about 240 shots per
battery charge.

More info: http://dc.casio.jp/product/exilim/ex_v8/
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Name: Sanyo Xacti DMX-HD1000
Category: Digital video camera
Price: Open Price; estimated around 120,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-September 2007

The Gist: The first Xacti to offer Full HD recording has been
announced by Sanyo, the DMX-HD1000. While previous Xacti models
have offered recording high-definition video as high as 720p, the
HD1000 is the first of the series that can handle "Full HD"
1080p.

It's worth noting that the HD1000 records videos in MPEG-4
AVC/H.264 and AAC audio rather than AVCHD video and AC-3 audio.
The latter is what's used on similar Full HD video camera's
we've seen recently come from Sony, Panasonic, and Canon. A minor
discrepancy, to say the least; even AVCHD itself uses MPEG-4
AVC/H.264 as its video codec. The difference will probably be
found in audio, AVCHD requires audio be stored as uncompressed
PCM for 7.1ch or AC-3 for 5.1ch. This is just a hypothesis, but
Sanyo may have chosen not conform to the AVCHD standard because
of licensing fees that have to be paid to AVCHD's developers:
Sony and Matsushita. From the customer's perspective, though,
there shouldn't be any huge differences between the two in terms
of quality or compatibility.

With a new "Platinum Sigma Engine", Sanyo was able to offer Full
HD on the HD1000 through development of a new MPEG-4 AVC codec.
This helped them reduce the previous dual-chip setup to a single
chip, thereby making the unit both smaller and conserve less
power. With the included battery, you can record about 2 hours of
video, which is certainly nice considering even an 8GB SDHC card
can only fit about and hour and a half of Full HD content.

The HD1000 offers video modes ranging from the 1920x1080, 60fps,
12Mbps "Full-HD" to the 320x240, 30fps "Web-SHQ". If you elect
for a cheaper 4GB SDHC card rather than the 8GB card, you can
record about 43 minutes of Full HD video. Neither card is
included with the unit, though, so be prepared to shell out a bit
more if you don't have such an SDHC card already.

The lens has a 10x zoom, which when combined with the new face
recognition technology, should make focusing on subjects' faces
significantly easier than with previous Xactis. The monitor is a
2.7-inch LCD.

Included with the HD1000 is a nice cradle that offers a
significant number of features. While it of course serves the
standard "cradle purposes" like connecting to a TV via its HDMI,
D4, S-Video, or Composite outputs, it also acts as a USB Host.
This enables you to connect USB devices such as external hard
drives directly to the cradle itself, thereby allowing videos to
be transferred to such devices without the use of a PC. "Xacti
Library" also allows playlist creation and even simple editing
without using a PC.

More info: http://www.sanyo-dsc.com/products/lineup/dmx_hd1000/index.html
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Name: Panasonic D-snap Audio SV-SD950N
Category: Portable digital audio player
Price: Open Price; estimated around 25,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 21, 2007

The Gist: Companies are finally beginning to introduce Bluetooth
into their portable audio players. We've already seen
Bluetooth-compatible offerings from Sony and Samsung. Now
Matsushita joins the party with their new SC-SD950N of the D-snap
Audio line in their Panasonic brand.

Slated to be available in both white and black color variations,
the player is estimated to cost 25,000 yen when it hits later
this month. That's a bit steep considering it includes only a 1GB
SD card, but you're paying a premium for the Bluetooth functionality.

One of the glories of including Bluetooth on a portable audio
player is that it eliminates the only cable you may need: the
cable between your player and your headphones. It's nice,
especially in the crowded subways of Tokyo, to not deal with
cables at all yet still be able to enjoy your music. As the
player supports A2DP, AVRCP, and HFP profiles of Bluetooth 2.0,
you should be able to connect it to your Bluetooth headphones,
Bluetooth audio/video equipment, and even your
Bluetooth-supporting car. Specifically, Matsushita is also
releasing a new "D-dock" desktop stereo system with Bluetooth,
so you'll be able to wirelessly connect it with the SD950N,
allowing you to enjoy music on your portable audio player on the
system's speakers. What's more, the reverse is also possible;
connect the player to your car audio system with Bluetooth, for
example, and your passenger can enjoy music from your system on
the SD950N while you drive in silence. While this particular
player doesn't offer the feature, "simultaneous pairing" is a
technique that allows a single Bluetooth device to connect to two
devices at once. Your audio player automatically pauses your
music when a call comes into your phone, then uses your
headphones as a speaker and audio player as a microphone.

Bluetooth is staged not only to eliminate many of the hassles we
have with wires, but change our listening habits as well. That's
why we're particularly excited to see its adoption in digital
audio players. Perhaps you're wondering why it has taken so long.
While Bluetooth itself has been around since 1994, it was only
with the finalization of Bluetooth 2.0 in 2004 that there was
enough bandwidth for high quality audio data. The technology is
still in its infancy; your options for Bluetooth 2.0 compatible
headphones can be counted on two hands.

The SD950N offers an output of 2.5mW, yielding a range of about
10 meters. But from firsthand experience, I can tell you that
this range drops down drastically when human bodies get between
the transmitter and the receiver. Say, for example, the human
bodies on the Ginza Line at 8:30AM? If you're using the player in
such situations, you may want to consider putting it in a shirt
or jacket pocket rather than a pants pocket or in your bag.

Although only a 1GB card is included with the player, it does
support SDHC cards, bringing your potential capacity on a single
card up to 4GB. The 4-line organic EL display should make your
track and artist information quite visible.

The player itself also has a noise canceling function via the
included headphones, but this will likely go unused if you end
up purchasing the unit because of its Bluetooth capabilities.
MP3, WMA, and SD-Audio/AAC files can be played, as can files from
Nifty's "MOOCS" audio distribution service. Some additional
features include direct MP3 encoding and a USB 2.0 connection
that can also be used for recharging.

The player has an internal lithium-ion battery, and in the
Panasonic tradition, features a smashing 60 hours of playback
time when the noise canceling function isn't being used. The time
drops to 40 hours when the function is being used. If you're
making use of Bluetooth, the playback times unfortunately drop to
12 hours if the 950N is sending a signal, and 10 hours if it's
receiving a signal.

More info: http://panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/
data.dir/jn070829-1/jn070829-1.html?ref=news
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Start a Company in Japan

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 6th of October, 2007

If you have been considering setting up your own company,
find out what it takes to make it successful.
Terrie Lloyd, founder of over 13 start-up companies in Japan,
will be giving an English-language seminar and Q and A on
starting up a company in Japan.
This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally answered
in business books.
All materials are in English and are Japan-focused.

For more details: http://japaninc.com/terrie_lloyd/
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Are you raising a family in Japan? Do you speak English?
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Our concept is "Families helping Families" and we invite
anyone that wants to meet other families, help other families,
or discuss family-related issues pertinent to life in Japan
to come and join the Piqniq today!

For more information: www.piqniq.jp

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RidgeRunner Niseko
International Cricket Competition 15-17 September 2007

This is your invitation to three days of fun at an
international cricket tournament in Niseko being held to
the benefit of the Tyler Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Cricketing legend Dennis Lillee will be attending the event
which is being co-hosted by the Higashiyama Prince Hotel and
includes two days of cricket, a golf match and charity
dinner dance and auction.
For more information, and the chance to win a
dinner with Dennis,

please visit www.ridgerunner.jp/cricket
or contact Simon Jackson
(simon@rad-development.com, 011-876-3704)
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------------------- ICA Event-Sept 20 -------------------

SPECIAL JOINT EVENT with the AUSTRALIAN NEW ZEALAND CHAMBER

Speaker: Tim Williams, Founder and Director of Value Commerce
Topic: Japan Success Stories - Value Commerce

Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
(RSVP Required)
Date: Thursday, September 20, 2007
Time: 6:30 Doors open
(Light buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks included)
Cost: 3,500 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members)

Open to all-location is Australian Embassy B2
http://www.australia.or.jp/english/seifu/embassy/map.html

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Comments

The reason for not using AVCHD could well be the limited software support. While there are video-editing packages that will handle it now, standard hobby-level software largely doesn't. Sanyo has opted to use a format that's as widely accessable as possible.

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