GW-284 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets 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. 284 Friday December 7, 2007
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Name: Kaga Electronics Portable 1-Seg TV
Category: Portable Audio/Video
Price: Open Price
Release date in Japan: February 2008

The Gist: Hot on the heels of Sony's recently released organic
EL television (see Gadget Watch #276) is a portable 1-Seg TV
from Kaga Electronics that also features an organic EL screen.
Details are still few and far between given this product's
release is still a few months away, but we do know that it
features a 3-inch, full-color organic EL display with a
resolution of 320x240 dots. The TV measures 64x85x8mm, and the
thickness of 8mm will make this the thinnest 1-Seg TV available
when it's released.

Kaga Electronics didn’t make this happen alone. The organic EL
panel is supplied by LG Philips; the panel features better color
reproduction, better contrast, and a wider viewing angle versus
LCDs. LG Philips worked with Eastman Kodak to bring uniform
brightness levels and high quality light emitting components to
this particular panel, so expect a nice screen. The tuner was
developed in conjunction with Andes Electric, and it offers a
higher sensitivity.

While the potential of this product may be limited?we find it
hard to believe a whole lot of people want to carry yet another
device, albeit one solely for watching 1-Seg broadcasts?it’s
good to see organic EL already making headway in the markets.
With the advantages organic EL has versus LCD, we’re very likely
to see it popping up in more devices over the next few years.

More info: http://www.taxan.co.jp/news/pdf/07.11.29-1.pdf
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Name: Panasonic Let’snote W7, US English Keyboard Edition
Category: Notebook PC
Price: 287,600 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available (in limited quantities)

The Gist: A double-row Enter key, and, being two different
buttons it’s hard to find, a tiny spacebar, small backspace,
too many useless buttons. Just admit it: you hate using Japanese
keyboards, especially when trying to type in English. In today’s
world of Microsoft IME, ATOK, Kotoeri, and all the other various
Japanese input systems, typing Japanese on an English keyboard
seems just as easy as typing Japanese on a Japanese keyboard.
Yet typing English on a Japanese keyboard is so difficult.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason Panasonic has announced a
limited edition of their Let’snote W7 notebook PC that features
an US English keyboard layout. According to Panasonic, some of
their users who had experience with ‘certain applications’ and
other operating systems requested keyboards with a US English l
ayout. We’ve already highlighted some of the differences above,
but the primary differences on this particular model are as
follows: the Enter key sits only on one row (and is longer), the
spacebar is wider, Kana doesn’t appear on the keys, function
keys (DEL, INS) are in different locations, there’s a right
ALT key, and the symbol keys are in different locations.
Anyone used to a US English keyboard will be right at home.

This version of the Let’snote didn't stop there; Panasonic has
also thrown Windows Vista Ultimate on it, enabling users to take
advantage of Microsoft's ‘Ultimate Extras’ for downloadable
language packs. Windows Vista Ultimate has a function called
Multilingual User Interface (MUI) that lets one change the
display language on a per-user basis. If you prefer to have your
Windows interface in English but your spouse prefers Japanese,
that’s entirely possible on one machine with the MUI function of
Vista Ultimate. MUI has previously only been available through
Volume Licensing agreements with Microsoft, and not retail
channels, so it’s excellent to see this feature make its way
to the consumer segment.

The standard edition of the Let’snote W7 was only released on
November 16th, so don’t expect a hardware refresh for this US
English keyboard edition. The screen is a 12.1-inch display of
1024x768 dots, the processor a Core 2 Duo U7500 (1.06GHz), the
memory 1GB, the hard disk 80GB, and the optical drive a DVD
Super Multi drive. Interfaces include three USB 2.0 ports, a
Type2 PC Card slot, an SD card slot, IEEE 802.11a/b/g wireless
LAN, Gigabit Ethernet, an integrated 56k modem, and a mini D-Sub
15-pin connector for your external display. The battery will
last about 10 hours.

Unfortunately you’ll need to move fast: this US English
keyboard version will be limited to a production of 100 units.

More info: http://winki.co.uk/~0XuW
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Name: Evergreen EG-CVR1000
Category: IC Voice Recorder
Price: 9,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: As many as 69 hours of audio can be recorded on the
EG-CVR1000’s internal 1GB of memory. This new recorder from
Evergreen comes via their ‘Shanghai Donya’ online store.
It measures 86x55x6mm, making it ‘business card-sized’ according
to the company. According to Evergreen, the non-traditional
shape of this recorder (most are ‘stick-style’) makes it harder
for the speaker to realize he/she is being recorded. Spy gear.

Audio is recorded in the WAVE format at 32kbps, but this unit
does have the added bonus of being able to playback MP3 files.
Its internal battery will last about 5 hours, and it takes the
same amount of time to recharge. For whatever reason it features
a 2.5mm headphone jack instead of the standard 3.5mm jack, but
it does include an adapter.

More info: http://www.donya.jp/item/5071.html
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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
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