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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 297 Friday May 09, 2008
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Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot W61S phone sports 5.1-megapixel camera
Name: Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot W61S
Category: mobile phone
Price: Open price
Release date in Japan: May 3, 2008
Gadget lovers have been waiting a few months for this one: au's
sharp-looking CDMA Cyber-shot W61S that boasts a 5.1-megapixel
autofocus camera with features to rival 'real' cameras. Those
features include 'Kaokime Lite' face recognition tech to paint
faces in the best light ('Kawaiisa (Cuteness) Up!', promises the
web site), and in the ongoing evolution of face recognition,
'Smile Shutter Lite' - a feature that'll actually wait for the
target to smile and automatically snap the shot. (Still wanted:
a version that'll fix shots timed with blinking.)
Built-in GPS means the camera records the location of shots
along with the usual digital photo data. The included Picture
Motion Browser for organizing your photos will construct a
Google Map with your photo locations pinpointed.
Camera features alone not enough to entice you? How about this,
then: au Smart Sports Run & Walk, an application that lets your
W61S act as your personal trainer, displaying and remembering
your jogging distance, time, speed, and calories burned. GPS
power lets you later see a map of the course you ran.
Tech details: Exmor CMOS sensor (up to ISO 1600), 3x optical
zoom, macro focus (up to 3 cm), shake reduction, LED flash,
automatic lens cover, 2.8 inch WVGA (480x800) screen (with
Reality MAX tech borrowed from Sony's Bravia TVs), split screen
for running two features at once, microSD memory, Bluetooth,
GPS, EZ FeliCa (with Touch Message to exchange data among FeliCa
phones by touch), 1-seg TV, TV conference (up to 5 people), au
one Gadgets, and more - there's not much left out of this one.
Slider-type shell in pink, white, or black.
ELECOM MR-A47H memory card reader goes to 47
Name: ELECOM MR-A47H
Category: memory card reader
Release date in Japan: Early May, 2008
In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore made the famous
prediction that computing power (as related to transistor
density) would roughly double every two years, and the IT press
hasn't stopped quoting 'Moore's Law' since.
I'm going to dabble in legislative predictions of my own, with
this forecast: the number of media card formats that cheap USB
memory card readers claim to support will also double every two
Actually, I'm not at all certain of the number or the time
progression, so we'll have to wait and watch. I'm just noting
that the marketing claims are getting crazy.
Case in point: the ELECOM MR-A47H series. It really wasn't long
ago that memory card readers claimed to handle 6 or 8 or so
formats, which seemed great. Then one day, I notice they're
touting upward of 14, even 20. And those new ELECOMs? Well,
let's just say that if you've ever been burned by a reader that
supported only 46 formats when what you needed was just one
more, your ship has finally arrived - 'cause this one goes to
Not surprisingly, though, ELECOM arrives at its two-score and
seven by tallying up multiple types of physical formats, such as
three types of microSDHC card. So without listing all the
sub-types, here are the key formats covered: SD, SDHC, miniSD,
miniSDHC, TransFlash, microSD, microSDHC, SD for Wii,
MemoryStick, MemoryStick for PSP, xD PictureCard, CompactFlash,
CF HDD, MMC, RS-MMC, MMC micro, and SmartMedia. Whew!
What? No NT Card or SxS? Back to work, ELECOM. (If they're
anywhere close to 94 formats by 2010, I'm staking out and naming
More info: http://www.elecom.co.jp/news/200804/mr-a47h/
Marcus Evans Events - Supported by J@pan Inc
Compensation and Benefits Forum, 27th – 28th May, Tokyo
This event provides Japanese firms the 'how-to' of investing in
their employees to sustain their businesses. Supported by JSHRM
3rd Annual LNG World, 15th – 16th July 2008, Tokyo
This event focuses on key operational aspects of LNG business
and current market dynamics to succeed in this competitive
Leveraged Finance Japan, 29th – 30th July 2008, Tokyo
This event provides the opportunity for participants to assess
the buyout & leveraged buyout activities in Japan.
'J@pan Inc readers are entitled to a 10% discount upon
registration with Ms. Esther Wong.'
Contact: +603 2723 6736 Email: email@example.com
BUFFALO VH-MU01 makes Skype easier
Name: BUFFALO VH-MU01
Category: USB Skype phone
Release date in Japan: Early June, 2008
Many people reading this will be fans of Skype, the popular
service that enables free computer-to-computer and low-cost
computer-to-land-line voice calling. Typical Skype setups
involve fiddling with your computer's microphone and
speakers/headphones, or a USB-powered 'Skype phone' hardware
add-on, which may still entail some mousing around to use.
BUFFALO Inc.'s new VH-MU01 isn't the first Skype phone handset,
but promises to transform your Windows PC-based Skyping into a
more phone-like experience. The white or black handset is
generously described as 'stylish', and in fact isn't too bad
looking. It plugs into a USB port, and will require some initial
setup - but after that, you'll be using it like a good
old-fashioned phone. All the buttons you need to make and
receive calls, including Skype software controls and extra
niceties like volume control, are on the unit; no need to mess
with the PC.
That alone will let you talk for free to other Skype users
anywhere on the globe. For more fun, sign up for FUSION
Communications' new 'FUSION de Skype' service, which grants your
Skype phone a regular FUSION IP-phone 050 number and lets you
call regular land lines or mobile phones via the FUSION IP-Phone
network (free if you call a FUSION IP-Phone 050 number). Early
sign-ups for the service save about JPY2300 on various fees.
Marketing News: JAXA COSMODE PRODUCT brands space products
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) - itself behind
more than a few gadgets, like the KAGUYA lunar explorer orbiting
the moon and the KIBO International Space Station module
launching June 1st - announced the JAXA COSMODE PROJECT logo
progam for consumer-oriented products developed with JAXA
involvement. From May, products qualifying for the mark will
fall under one of three categories and existing cooperative
1) Collaboration: Products developed in collaboration with JAXA
under its Space Open Laboratory (a JAXA program to coordinate
projects with academia and industry, not a physical laboratory)
2) Spin-off: Products using JAXA patents or technology, under
its Intellectual Assets Use Program
3) Space Certified: Products certified by JAXA for space mission
use, under the Space Japanese Food Certification Program and a
similar proposed program for non-food items. (11 food makers
already produce 28 food products for ISS mission use.)
Like any good logo, the COSMODE design has some meaning behind
it. It represents a total solar eclipse, revealing a letter C
formed by infinite stars - that is, the infinite products that
space exploration will birth. Keep an eye out for
COSMODE-branded products at stores near you. (My bet: the first
time you'll see the logo in the wild will be on instant ramen.)
More info: http://aerospacebiz.jaxa.jp/cosmode.html (Japanese)
Space food pictures: http://iss.jaxa.jp/spacefood/index.html
Written by: Timm Tuttle
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--------NEW GADGET BLOG: TEKRONOMICON.COM------------------
In collaboration with Gadget Watch, Gadget blog Tekronomicon
offers a detailed look at select gadgets - shiny and strange,
from gizmo ground zero in Tokyo.
See the gadgets introduced in Gadget Watch,
with photos and more at: www.tekronomicon.com
Start a Company in Japan
Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 31st of May, 2008
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:
----------- Metropolis and eigoTown.com Parties -----------
Metropolis - Tokyo's favorite lifestyle magazine and
eigoTown.com - Japan's premier English language learning
website - join together on May 10, 2008 to bring you
the Metropolis and eigoTown.com Party!
Roppongi hotspot Alife will host over 500 revelers for an
evening of fun with people from different backgrounds
coming together for eating, drinking and making friends.
CORPORATE SPONSORS WELCOME
-------------------- ICA Event - May 15 ------------------
Speaker: Ron DiCarlantonio, founder and CEO of iNAGO Group
Topic: How are Japanese companies innovating
in Customer Service?
Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2008
Time: 6:30 Doors open includes open bar and light buffet
Cost: 4,500 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members)
Open to all - venue is The Foreign Correspondents'
Club of Japan