GW-301 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 301 Friday June 6, 2008
Subscribers: 9467
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PLANEX Communications Bluetooth adapter takes any headphones

Category: audio peripheral
Price: JPY6980
Release date in Japan: Early June, 2008

Wireless headsets are nifty, but can be pricey. Here's a
solution just about any Bluetooth-equipped audio player owner
would find handy: PLANEX Communications' new stereo audio
Bluetooth adapter for any normal headphones, the BT-HP01AD.

Plug your favorite 'phones into the little lozenge-shaped BT and
slip it into a pocket. Play audio from your Bluetooth gadget,
whether mobile phone or PC, and enjoy the sound without the
annoying tether. With a range of up to 10m, it's perfect for
someone who wants to use headphones while roaming about the

While most PCs these days sport Bluetooth, not all audio players
do; iPods are notably 'toothless. PLANEX fixes this with the
BT-DockT (JPY6980), which transmits iPod audio over Bluetooth to
your new BT.

The BT also sports a built-in microphone, letting it handle
hands-free voice chats while you pace the floor. Yet another
trick: the BT acts as a wireless remote control for your player,
with play, pause, forward/reverse, and volume control.

As most readers will know, you have to 'pair' Bluetooth devices
to each other (otherwise, you'd get a mess of promiscuous
devices trying to interoperate with every other device in
range). The BT will 'pair' with up to two devices, such as an
audio player and a mobile phone. If you're listening to the
player's audio when a call comes in, the BT will switch to the
paired phone, letting you take up the conversation from there.

PLANEX is throwing in one more incentive for buyers: a free
download of 'Keitai Bannou Lite' software for backing up,
editing, and managing mobile phone address book data on a PC.

Other specs: Class 2 Bluetooth. Up to 6 hours operation (or 200
hours standby) on 2-hour recharge. Size 4.4 x 2 x 1.8 cm; weight
14 grams, or half an ounce.

More info:
(Japanese) (BT DockT
iPod adapter, Japanese)
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Metropolis-Tokyo's favorite lifestyle magazine and - Japan's premier English language learning
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Roppongi hotspot Alife will host over 500 revelers for an
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Nearest stn: Roppongi.



RISO Print Gocco kits take a final bow

Name: Print Gocco PG-11, Print Gocco PG-5, Print Gocco Arts
Category: printing kit
Price: varies (JPY6825 for PG-5 Basic Set)
RIP: September 1977 - June 30, 2008

You'd be hard pressed to find an adult in Japan who doesn't know
Print Gocco, even if youngsters think of it as that odd toy the
older folks play with. In 1977, Tokyo-based printing machinery
maker RISO Kagaku Corp. began selling the little self-contained
printing press for consumers. The 'household communication
tool', as the company calls it, uses a flash unit to thermally
imprint images onto a master screen, which can then produce
color prints. It was a huge hit for RISO, with over 10 million
units sold. Gocco has its overseas fans as well, and a Print
Gocco B6 sits in the Edison Museum in the US.

Alas, it's the end of the line for Gocco: RISO shuts down sales
on June 30. The news comes as no surprise, as the company first
warned of a future end in 2005. A 'Save Gocco' Internet campaign
helped spur a resurgence and the resumption of some product
lines in 2007, but at the end of May this year, RISO decided to
finally put Gocco 'out of print' for good.

What caused Print Gocco's demise? Nobody needs a second guess to
finger the culprit: the home personal computer, aided and
abetted by the cheap inkjet printer. Sales of Gocco and its
supplies began diving from the latter half of the 90s, plunging
from JPY15.2 billion in 1994 to under JPY1 billion now.

Expect to see the beloved Gocco remain in continued use by
artists, seniors, and general hobbyists. If you've had a
curiosity, pick one up; you won't find a neater, more compact
screen-printing system. RISO will continue to supply inks and
other disposable supplies - 'for the time being', it says. Uh
oh, sounds ominous. Time to stock the cellars, Gocco fans.
(You'll also need a VCR tape player to watch the instructional
tape that comes with the basic kits. How's that for retro?)

More information:


I-O DATA CPKB/BT Bluetooth keyboard eases mobile phone work

Name: I-O DATA CPKB/BT Bluetooth keyboard
Category: keyboard
Price: JPY16,485
Release date in Japan: June 11, 2008

Those kids are fast with the thumbs on those mobile phone
keypads; no question there. Give me a good keyboard, though, and
I'll show 'em what typing is.

My weapon has arrived. The CPKB/BT keyboard - that's Cellular
Phone KeyBoard Blue Tooth - talks to your DoCoMo SH906i or
SH906iTV Bluetooth mobile phone, letting you switch from one or
two thumbs to ten fingers. It's perfect for long email messages,
blogging, or address book clean-up.

As you'd expect, I-O DATA plays up the 'use your mobile phone
like a PC' marketing aspect. Increasingly, mobile phones are
powerful enough to take the place of PCs for many a user, yet
for all the thumb dexterity of determined users, a keypad's
physical limitations do slow down input. I-O DATA says the CPKB
brings back true touch typing - though at a scant 15-cm width,
it's definitely a compact 'board. Don't expect full desktop
keyboard speed and comfort.

In addition, how often do you expect you'll be seated at a desk,
wanting to type something long into your mobile? If that's not
often enough to justify purchase, here's one more feature that
may tempt you: add the I-O DATA USB-BT20 Bluetooth adapter
(JPY4200) to your PC, and you can use the CPKB as a wireless PC

Caveats: The CPKB works with phones using HID1.0 profiles, and
so far is limited to the two SH phones above (as well as the
PlayStation 3). The company promises that more supported phones
are on the way. Another concern is buried in the small print:
possible interference with IEEE 802.11g/b communications, i.e.,
your WiFi network setup.

Specs: Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, aluminum body, 15.2 x 9.2 x 1.4cm,
170 grams. Runs on two AAA alkaline batteries, from which you
can expect 30 to 60 hours of use. Pairs with up to 5 devices.
59-key; based on the 109A Japanese keyboard layout, though
without hiragana printed on the keys. Comes with plastic
keyboard cover.

More info:
(USB-BT20, Japanese)


Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) SONY's Sountina concept speaker has been given the green
light for production. The blue, amber, and purple lights,
actually. Sountina is a glass tube atop a metal base, looking
for all the world like a 1.84-meter light saber. Its 'vertical
drive technology' sends sound in every direction from the
omnidirectional glass tweeter (as well as a 7-cm mid-range
speaker and 13-cm woofer); SONY says the technology produces
evenness of both sound quality and sound volume over an
unusually long distance. The art-like tube glows in the above
shifting colors to further set the mood. Sountina is ideal for
spacious hotel lobbies, wedding halls, and the like - but if
you've got an extra JPY1,000,000 from June 20, then it's made
for you too.

2) Since its introduction over a year ago, Microsoft's Windows
Vista has enjoyed a global reception about as warm as
yesterday's roadkill. Amidst consumers' demands that computer
makers keep offering the older Windows XP, and countless web
sites detailing the process for uninstalling Vista, Tokyo-based
Magnolia offers a compromise solution: 'Back to XP', a software
package that leaves Vista lurking inside your PC but disguises
it as XP. Back to XP brings back lost menus, turns off the
reviled UAC feature, restores the old look of the Start menu and
desktop icons, and otherwise takes Vista a step forward. Or
backward. Whichever. Available from July 4 for JPY1980 (package)
or JPY980 (download).

3) The PRADA phone by LG isn't new, having already sold over
800,000 units in 44 countries since last year, but it's new to
DoCoMo and Japan this month. The fashion-conscious black unit
combines LG's mobile phone innards with a shell, interface,
stylus/strap, and leather case by famed Italian brand designers
PRADA. The 3-inch QVGA (240x400) touchpad display works with a
finger or a stylus. In Japan, the phone works with DoCoMo's 3.5G
'FOMA High Speed' service. At 2 megapixels, its camera isn't
raising the bar for resolution, but does feature a Schneider
Kreuznach lens from Germany. Yours for about JPY100,000.

More info: (Japanese)
Space food pictures:
Written by: Timm Tuttle
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See the gadgets introduced in Gadget Watch,
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-------------------- ICA Event - June 25 ------------------

Speaker: Henry Ng, Head of Professional Security Services
-Asia, Verizon Business

Topic: Bridging the Security Management Gap:
How to Move from Point Solutions to Process

Details: Complete event details at
(RSVP Required)
Date: Thursday, June 25, 2008
Time: 6:30 Doors open includes light buffet
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members)
Open to all-venue is The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan