GW-279 -- The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

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Japan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H

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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 279 Friday October 26, 2007
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Name: Mac OS X Leopard
Category: Operating System
Price: Single License: 14,800 yen, Family License (up to 5
machines): 22,800 yen
Release date in Japan: October 26, 2007

The Gist: Apple is gearing for the worldwide release their sixth
iteration of Mac OS X this week, dubbed 'Leopard.'

According to Apple, this update features more than 300 updates.
We won't go into too much detail here in this newsletter because
Apple's site already provides a wealth of information and even an
introductory video in English:

-Stacks automatically organizes files into neat stacks on your
Dock, assuring your desktop won't be cluttered because of
downloaded files
-Finder now allows you to use Cover Flow (popularized by the
iPhone) to get quick previews of many common file types, making
browsing through your files hopefully go faster. There are also
new features for connecting to Macs and PCs on your network,
as well as new features for Spotlight, the OS's search function.
-Quick Look is a new feature that allows you to look through
files without actually opening the corresponding software. No
need to fire up your presentation software just to see the fifth
slide of your presentation, and no need to fire up QuickTime just
to watch a 10 second video.
-Time Machine keeps a change log of your entire computer that
assures you'll have backups on hand should you accidentally
delete or change something. The interface allows you to scroll
'back in time' to certain dates. This feature requires an
external hard drive, but is automated; once you connect the drive
and do your initial backup, everything else will be taken care of.
-Mail now has integrated notes and to-do list functionality, as
well as simplified setup for common types of email accounts like
Gmail.
-iChat has some new features such as video backdrops, desktop
sharing, and in-window file display.
-Taking a queue from KDE (and perhaps other systems before it),
Spaces allows you to have multiple virtual desktops for
organizing your various open applications. Image editing on one
screen, browsing on one screen, chat on another, and so on.
-The full version of Boot Camp is included, so feel free to load
up Windows XP or Vista when/if you need to.

Given the nature of this newsletter, it's important to point out
a couple of new Japanese-related features in Leopard. The first
is full compliance with JIS2004 standards. JIS2004 standards
dictate display of characters. Specifically, JIS2004 features 122
altered Kanji versus its previous version as well as 200 new
'non-Kanji' characters such as a few for Ainu script and
pronunciation symbols. For those keeping score, JIS2004 is also
supported by default in Windows Vista and a patch is available
for Windows XP users.

The Leopard product page also gives mention to inclusion of 'the
most beautiful of Japanese fonts,' Hiragino Gothic and Hiragino
Mincho. It should be interesting to see how these compare to the
Japanese font included with Vista, Meiryo, as it too is
supposedly a vast improvement over the Japanese fonts of Windows
XP. A final feature is predictive input for Japanese, which has
'improved accuracy' in Leopard.

More info: http://www.apple.com/macosx/
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Japan's First Family Social Network is here! www.piqniq.jp

Are you raising a family in Japan? Do you speak English?
Would you like to meet other English speaking families in
your area? Piqniq is a Social Network Service tailored
specifically for you!
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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Name: Marubeni Infotec Wooden Keyboard Kit, Wooden USB memory
Category: PC Peripherals
Price: Open Price
Release date in Japan: Already Available

The Gist: Marubeni Infotec has collaborated with the Hacoa
Company, a woodworking firm, to offer two new products sure to
appeal to those with an affinity for wood. Wood isn't a material
you see used very frequently around PCs (or at least the
components), so it's refreshing to see companies try different
things.

The first is a 'Ki-board,' as the Japanese word for tree is
'ki.' This certainly isn't the first wooden keyboard, but this
kit is unique as it requires you to assemble the keyboard
yourself. Available in maple and walnut, the kit includes a
keyless keyboard and several un-separated keys. Marubeni leaves
the final step -- cutting off each key, and placing it in the
correct position -- to you. Maybe you want to cut the keys apart
with a knife, maybe with a circular saw, or maybe you want to
stain each one a different color then shellac them until you turn
blue. It's your choice: 'we wanted to provide the enjoyment of
making your own keyboard,' says Infotec. The keyboard connects
via USB and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X.

For the less adventurous, Marubeni and Hacoa have also
collaborated to bring forth a series of wooden USB memory
devices. Three varieties will be available -- 'Monaca,'
reminiscent of the Japanese delight with the same name,
'Chocolat,' shaped like a bar of chocolate, and the lacquered
'Urushi.' In total, there are 10 different models available in
various woods and designs, all with a 1GB capacity.

More info: http://www.monodo.jp/hacoa/product/
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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
READ PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS
Gadget Watch online archive:
http://www.japaninc.com/gadget_watch
Check out our other Japan-specific newsletters:
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FEEDBACK AND PROBLEMS
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NB Please do not reply to this newsletter
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Copyright (C) 2007 Japan Inc Communications KK.
All Rights Reserved.
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Japan's First Family Social Network is here! www.piqniq.jp

Are you raising a family in Japan? Do you speak English?
Would you like to meet other English speaking families in
your area? Piqniq is a Social Network Service tailored
specifically for you!
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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Name: au x Sony 'MUSIC PROJECT'
Category: Mobile phone service
Price: Varies
Release date in Japan: Mid-November 2007

The Gist: Without a doubt, au's LISMO music service dominates
the market for enjoying music on mobile phones in Japan. At a
higher level, au's LISMO is perhaps the only music solution that
can actually compete with Apple's unstoppable iTunes+iPod service
in Japan. In numerical terms, au announced that 15 million
handsets with LISMO support have been sold, and there have been
more than 150 million song downloads. At least downloads of Chaku
Uta Full songs; no telling how many of those were sold via LISMO.

That's why it's interesting to see the direction the service is
going. KDDI's research has revealed that most people don't use
mobile phones to listen to music -- 52.3% of them use PCs, 58.6%
of use home audio equipment, and 36% use digital audio players.
In other words, the mobile phone-centric LISMO has been
apparently been missing a huge market opportunity as LISMO songs
could only be listened to on your PC or your phone.

Enter the '2nd stage' of LISMO, known as the 'au x Sony 'MUSIC
PROJECT'.' This new service is designed to cater to the needs of
modern consumers by allowing songs to be used on a wider variety
of devices. Specifically, downloaded songs enter a 'system' and
these songs can be used somewhat freely (there is a check-in/
check-out scheme) amongst devices within the system. Download a
song with your mobile phone, listen to it on your PC, and then
put it on your stereo's hard drive to enjoy whenever you want.
Alternatively, download a song using your stereo, and then
transfer it to your Walkman to listen to on the go.
Alternatively, transfer that song to your mobile phone.
Confusing? Put plainly, this au x Sony MUSIC PROJECT lets you
download songs using various devices and listen to those songs
using said devices.

There are currently three ways to get music into the system:
downloading them with your mobile phone (via LISMO), downloading
them with the PC software ('mora for LISMO'), or downloading them
with Sony's NetJuke home audio system (via AnyMusic). Once a song
is inside the system, you will be able to move it to the system's
different devices for maximum enjoyment.

Behind this solution are a number of software changes. First,
Walkman models with HE-AAC support (the NW-S610, S710 series) can
instantly join the party; other Walkman models means tracks must
be converted to ATRAC before transfer. Next, because things also
have to go the other way -- from Sony's existing mora EMD service
to au components -- it means the phones have to support Sony's
formats and DRM. au will be launching the W54S, W54SA, and W54T
in November, which will be compatible. Finally, Sony's NetJuke
minicomponent devices make up the 'Home Audio' part of the
solution, and these will allow you to backup songs stored on your
mobile phone, listen to downloaded music, and transfer songs to
mobile phones or Walkman devices.

It would have been nice to see the Playstation 3 be part of this
equation, but it doesn't seem that will be happening in the near
future. In theory it could be, as the PS3 does support ATRAC
audio and DRM, but HE-AAC support would also be required for
the Chaku Uta Full portion.

This is a major step for LISMO and it's certainly nice to see the
service making strides to being ubiquitous. Were it not for all
of the various accessories/solutions to integrate your iPod with
virtually everything, you could say this new au x Sony MUSIC
PROJECT gives both companies a leg up versus iTunes+iPod.

More info: http://www.kddi.com/corporate/news_release
/2007/1016b/index.html
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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
READ PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS
Gadget Watch online archive:
http://www.japaninc.com/gadget_watch
Check out our other Japan-specific newsletters:
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters_main_page

SUBSCRIBE AND UNSUBSCRIBE TO GADGET WATCH:
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters/free_sign_up

ADVERTISING INFORMATION
To advertise in this newsletter, contact: ads@japaninc.com

FEEDBACK AND PROBLEMS
We welcome your viewpoint: editors@japaninc.com
NB Please do not reply to this newsletter
-- it's outgoing only, so we won't get it!
Technical problems: webmaster@japaninc.com
Copyright (C) 2007 Japan Inc Communications KK.
All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________
GadgetWatch mailing list
GadgetWatch@mailman.japaninc.com
http://mailman.japaninc.com/mailman/listinfo/gadgetwatch
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