GW-30

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan
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Issue No. 30
Thursday, September 27, 2001

Name: Panasonic SV-SD80
Category: Portable audio player
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: November 10, 2001

The Gist: Panasonic was, naturally, the first company to come out with
a solid state (no moving parts) audio player that used SD memory cards
as the recording/playback media, and the machines have been getting
smaller and cuter-looking with every update. The new SV-SD80, then, is
unsurprisingly the smallest and lightest portable music player on the
market, at 38 g and about 4 cm square (Sony's new NW-E7 player,
mentioned below, is approximately 3 x 9 x 13 cm and weighs 55 g, in
comparison).

These things are getting so small, it won't be long before we have one
that simply inserts into your ear canal like... permanently -- or
something! The dinky little block can play back AAC (Advanced Audio
Coding)-, MP3-, and WMA (Windows Media Audio)-encoded files. The
rechargeable nickel-hydrogen battery is part of the reason Panasonic
could make it so small, and the other plus with the battery is that it
has only 20 percent of the power drain of previous models. So, on one
charge, it'll last for more than 2 days playing continuously
(actually, 50 hours)! A 64-MB SD card will take just over 2 hours of
music, so we recommend picking up a few extra or bigger-capacity cards
when you buy the player.

More info:
http://www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/
jn010918-3/jn010918-3.html

Name: Sony NW-E7/ NW-E10/ NW-MS11
Category: Portable audio player
Price: NW-E7 (64 MB): JPY35,000
NW-E10 (128 MB) JPY40,000
NW-MS11 (high security, 128-MB Magic Gate memory stick)
JPY46,000
Release date in Japan: October 21

The Gist: Not to be outdone, Sony is chiming in with three new
Walkmans (Walkmen?). The NW-E7 and NW-E10 are both slim, cigarette
lighter-style network Walkmans, and are compatible with ATRAC3 and MP3
encoding. The battery will last for around 11 hours on a single charge
(and takes another five to juice back up). The NW-E7 will record 120
minutes of music and the NW-E10 twice that; both are equipped with 128
MB of internal memory, and both have a handy jog lever for one-handed
operation.

The NW-MS11, on the other hand, uses a Memory Stick in place of fixed,
internal flash memory; in this case, a 128-MB version of the highly
secure Magic Gate Stick. All players come with USB cradles and Sony's
(Windows XP-compatible) OpenMG Jukebox Ver2.2 software, so you can
connect them to a PC to download music.

More info:
http://www.sony.co.jp/sd/CorporateCruise/Press/200109/01-0919/

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Name: E Ink
Category: semiconductors
Price: n/a
Release date in Japan: n/a

The Gist: Nanotechnology, where microscopic robots can scamper around
in machines -- and even our bloodstream -- fixing stuff as it breaks
may not quite be with us yet, but microelectronics is. And it's
microelectronics that we have to thank for the next gadget. While it's
primarily being developed by US companies E Ink Corp. and Lucent
Technologies (although Japan's Toppan Printing is involved), what
they're working on is simply too cool not to mention: electronic
paper.

Not e-books, or downloadable e-zines, or anything so mundane, but
actual, physical sheets that look and feel just like paper but are, in
fact, electronic, active matrix displays. The E Ink displays will be
bendy enough to make true secret agent gadgets, like one that rolls
out of a pen like a projector screen, or pops out of the side of your
wristwatch. If that isn't attractive enough a prospect, the flexible
displays only use energy when the information on the screen changes,
so the batteries will last a whole lot longer than those powering
similar units now. And they don't need backlights, another traditional
drain on the juice.

E Ink is establishing a dedicated team, the E Ink Microelectronics
Technology Group, which will be housed in a new 9,500-square-foot
semiconductor facility in Massachusetts, working exclusively on making
flexible transistors to flog to electronics manufacturers. These
manufacturers should then be able to get this stuff to market within a
year. E Ink has just won an award, in fact, for last year producing
the first working version of such a display. Now, if you don't find
that exciting, you must be dead.

More info:
http://www.eink.com/company/news.htm.

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Subscribers: 955 as of September 27, 2001

STAFF
Written by Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)

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