GW-288 -- 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. 288 Friday January 25, 2008
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Name: ASUSTeK Computer Eee PC
Category: Mobile Internet Device
Price: ~50,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Call it a cheap laptop if you want, but Asus's new
‘Eee PC’ is making headlines around the world. Japan is no
exception, as ASUSTeK Computer is releasing the machine in
the country this month for about 50,000 yen.

The concept of the ‘Eee PC’ is to offer a low-cost and truly
mobile computer that caters to basic needs such as browsing the
internet, checking email, or posting on blogs. Asus translates
such needs into specifications that include a 7-inch widescreen
LCD (800x480 dots), a Intel Celeron M 900 MHz processor, a
910GML chipset, 512MB of memory, 4GB of solid-state storage,
three USB 2.0 ports, a 0.3MP web camera, onboard 802.11b/g
wireless LAN support, SD card slot, Ethernet jack, and a
connector for an external display.

The operating system is Windows XP Home Edition, and this
particular version for the Japanese market also features a
Japanese-style keyboard.

A quick glance at those specifications probably doesn't
conjure up images of a great machine, but the focus is on
value. While plenty of other manufacturers offer extremely
portable notebook PCs, few offer the combination we see here
of ‘decent’ equipment with an attractive price tag. Especially
in Japan, there's plenty of competition in this particular form
factor, but these competitors typically require sacrificing yen
for horsepower.

In Japan the ‘Eee PC’ ships with three ‘bonuses’ for added
value. The first is the ‘Zero Bright Dot’ service, where any
machine's screen found to have even a single hot pixel (a pixel
that is constantly illuminated) qualifies for free repair if
handled within 30 days after purchase. It's not clear if this
service also applies to stuck pixels (pixels stuck displaying
a color) or dead pixels (pixels that don't display at all).
Anyway, the second service is the inclusion of a free 4GB SDHC
card. Since the machine features a SD card slot, this basically
doubles its storage capacity for free. Also included in the
package is a free optical mouse and protective case.

The final bonus, a month of free ‘Wi-Fine’ service, is offered
in conjunction with NTTBP. Wi-Fine currently offers public WiFi
access at around 1600 locations throughout the country, such as
train stations of the Tsukuba Express, Yurikamome, and
restaurants like Lotteria and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Too bad
it doesn't include a free pack of wipes to clean the grease off
your keyboard.

More info: http://www.asus.co.jp/products.aspx?l1=24
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Name: Hitachi DZ-BD9H
Category: Digital video camera
Price: Open Price; estimated around 180,000 yen
Release date in Japan: February 12, 2008

The Gist: Hitachi's new BD9H digital video camera gives anyone
the capability to record Full HD (1080p) video directly to a
Blu-ray disc or on a 60GB hard drive. The camera is the
successor to the DZ-BD7H, released in August of just last year.
The new model features an improved optical sensor, better image
processing, more pixels to take advantage of, and a brighter
monitor.

That image sensor is a 5.3MP CMOS sensor, with an effective
2.07MP for video and 4.32MP for still images. This of course
yields 1080p video, but also gives users the option to do still
images at aspect ratios of 3:2 (for 2400x1800 pictures) or a
widescreen 16:9 (for 2400x1350 pictures). Being able to record
still images at 16:9 is a nice feature given the increasing
popularity of widescreen displays in the home. If you for some
reason forget to record still images, you can use the camera's
‘Full High Vision Still Image Capture’ feature to extract still
images from the HD video itself, and export them to a card
inserted in the camera’s SD slot.

The five video recording modes range from ‘HX’ with a 1920x1080
dot resolution under the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec at 15Mbps, down
to ‘SF’ with a 720x480 dot resolution under MPEG-2 at 6Mbps.
Unfortunately, there are some restrictions on the recording
modes based on destination; you’re simply unable to record HD
video to a DVD disc, for example. Hitachi must have missed the
memo about AVCREC, which was recently finalized by the Blu-ray
Disc Association specifically for recording HD video to DVDs.
Anyway, about 9 hours of HX-quality video fit on the unit's
internal hard drive, so you'll have plenty of room to record
whatever you please.

With a new LED backlight, the unit's 2.7-inch widescreen monitor
is now 1.4 times brighter than that of its predecessor.
The viewfinder is 0.2 inches. Available connectors include HDMI
Type A, Component, and USB 2.0.

More info: http://winki.co.uk/~0Xtg

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------Metropolis Magazine Valentine`s Glitterball---------------

Glitterball is back!
Tokyo's favorite party makes its triumphant return on
February 14, 2008-Valentine's Day.
An institution for nearly a decade, the Metropolis-hosted
Glitterball was on hiatus this year due to the closing of
Velfarre nightclub, but 2008's version promises to be better
than ever.

Roppongi hotspot Alife will host over 1,000 V-Day revelers
for a night of eating, drinking, dancing, making friends-and
who knows what else.
Prize drawings, swag bags, and Tokyo's funnest crowd will make
the reborn Glitterball the highlight of the Tokyo social calendar.

CORPORATE SPONSORS WELCOME
www.metropolis.co.jp/glitterball

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Name: Panasonic Viera PX80 series
Category: Plasma TVs
Price: Open Price; 50-inch: 330,000 yen, 42-inch: 240,000 yen,
37-inch: 200,000 yen
Release date in Japan: February 15, 2008

The Gist: Matsushita expands their line of Viera plasma TVs to
include the PX80 series, bringing a massive helping of contrast
ratio from the potluck dinner that characterizes today's
selection of displays. Specifically, these new models all
feature a contrast ratio of 15,000:1, representing a drastic
improvement versus the 4,000:1 contrast ratio of the previous
series.

This new contrast ratio was brought to you by a new algorithm
that ‘minutely governs the driver voltage of the excess
electrical discharge,’ to give a literal translation of the
Japanese. For the rest of us, a contrast ratio means the
difference between the whitest white and the blackest black.
A ratio like 15,000:1, therefore, is excellent when compared to
all other plasma screens currently on the market. Or at least
that's what the number dictates; contrast ratio is somewhat
‘open to interpretation,’ and marketers often take advantage of
the numbers to make their sets look better. We suggest you
compare these new models to others with your own eyes and make
your decision.

‘Intelligent Program Guide’ allows as many as 7 hours worth of
programming schedules to be simultaneously displayed on the
screen, so you can be sure you'll never need to dig out that TV
Guide again. Another good feature is the ‘Display by Channel,’
where you can display a single channel's schedule as far as 8
days in advance. Finally, for connection to your existing home
theater equipment, these units support ‘VIERA Link’ that allows
the set to control other connected components.

The 50-inch set has a resolution of 1366x768, the 42-inch set
has 1024x768, and the 37-inch set has 1024x720. Each set also
offers two HDMI jacks, two D4 jacks, two S-video jacks, four
Composite jacks, and a D-Sub 15-pin jack. It would be nice to
see Component in that lineup, but if you have HDMI and D4
perhaps Component isn't really necessary. You'll also find a
SD card slot and Ethernet port on each of the sets.

More info: http://winki.co.uk/~0Xt6

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STAFF
Written by: Liam McNulty
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Presentation Zen: A new approach to business presentations

Learn how to make your business presentations
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Date: January 24th 2008
7:30PM - 9:00PM (doors open 7:00PM)

Location: Mainichi Communications Building, Tokyo
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Map: http://www.mycom.co.jp/company/map/01.html

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For more information: http://www.eiken.or.jp/bulats/event_05.html

To reserve seats please email events/JIN@theforge.co.jp
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