GW-306 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

This week's Gadget Watch introduces AV fans to the palm-sized
Pro920 projector and the unusual NS-600 speaker system, followed
by more news on the device that's taken over the Japanese gadget
press this past week: the (you guessed it) iPhone 3G.
Japan Inc Magazine Presents:

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 306 Friday July 18, 2008
Subscribers: 9467

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Palm-sized Pro920 projector creates mini-mini-theater

Name: Kairen Projector X Pro920
Category: portable projector
Price: JPY36,540
Release date in Japan: Early August, 2008

Saitama-based Kairen YK is about to release the smallest
projector I've ever heard of. It's a mere 9 x 8 x 4.4 cm and
weighs a scant 190 grams. Yet it's a real projector, designed
for use with your iPod, DVD player, or other media player.

Input is via a mini AV jack for DVD players, or D-Sub15 pin
connector for PCs. The sold-separately 'VGA SMART' kit allows
connection to smart phones, letting a phone with slideshow or
PDF display capabilities run a full presentation for a (small)
table of people.

At 10 lumens, the Pro920's LED light won't outshine the big
models. In fact, it sounds downright dim. Kairen says the
brightness is good for a 25-inch screen (presumably in a dark
room), but you'd do well to confirm visibility yourself with a
store display model before dropping the cash.

Maximum input resolution is 1024x768; output is via a VGA
(640x480) 0.44-inch LCoS panel with 4:3 aspect ratio. Completing
the low-rent theater experience is a 1W monaural speaker and
manual focus.

More info:
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Niro NS-600 speaker system fills room with 'sphere' of sound

Name: Niro Spherical Surround System NS-600
Category: home theater speakers
Price: JPY88,000
Release date in Japan: July 10, 2008

The new 'Spherical Surround System NS-600' home theater speakers
from KK ('Niro') aren't spheres themselves, but they
are indeed round. The system's components are a top speaker,
bottom ('base') speaker, subwoofer, full digital surround amp,
and remote control; no 'left' and 'right' speakers in this
system. The 0.6-kg top speaker projects L/R channels to the
rear, while the 1.4-kg base speaker projects L/R and center
channels to the front.

Niro explains that conventional front-speaker surround systems
project a flat 'circle' of surround sound with limited vertical
reach, while the NS-600's vertically-separated speakers envelop
listeners in a 'sphere' of 'dramatic' ceiling-high surround
sound. The sound cocoon fills a room as large as 60 square
meters, says the company.

Buy the NS-600 now, and to celebrate its 10th anniversary Niro
will drop a JPY9000 iTunes or Amazon gift certificate into your

More info: (Japanese)
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Japanese developers roll out the iPhone apps

So, did the iPhone 3G make its July 11 Japan debut with a bang?
Yes, as you've already heard if you've listened to news at all.
With several sales outlets in Tokyo each facing queues of over
a thousand shoppers, the iPhones flew out the doors fast -
25,000 units total the first two days. Not surprisingly, it was
the top-selling phone that day, according to the BCN Ranking
service: the 16GB model accounted for 36.8% of all mobile phone
unit sales and the 8GB model for another 8.1%, totalling 44.9% -
amazing performance in a market where any two-digit percentage
is a rarity. The next day, though, numbers were more restrained
(as was supply): a 10.3% share for the 16GB iPhone 3G and 5.6%
for Casio's water-resistant W61CA from au, with the 8GB iPhone
3G coming in third after that. (English)

Apple claims 1 million iPhone 3Gs sold worldwide in the first
three days (a sales feat that took the first iPhone 74 days),
along with over 10 million applications from the App Store. Not
surprisingly, the gadget press in Japan this past week has been
focused on the iPhone 3G, and applications from Japanese
developers. Here are a few of the Japanese apps appearing in the

Rakuten Shoken's stock trading software 'iSPEED' released its
iPhone version on July 11. Use a couple of fingertips to zoom in
and out of stock charts, just as you do with photos.

For those going places, Navitime Japan's free 'NAVITIME'
application comes to the iPhone, dispensing street directions,
train travel times, locations of WiFi hotspots and gasoline
stands, and more. The company will later follow with more
feature-packed paid versions.

Or choose 'Ekitan Express iPhone/iPod touch', a native version
of the popular Ekitan transportation info application. Check
train and flight schedules, train transfers, up-to-date info on
delays, and so on from wherever you are. It's free for now,
though a paid service is under consideration. (Should Ekitan go
all paid on you, try an iPhone-friendly web service like )

Game developer Hudson Soft Co. wants to help iPhone owners kill
time with 'Bomberman Touch', 'Aqua Forest' (JPY900 each), and
'Sudoku' (JPY700) games. The company offers additional games for
the device's Safari web browser.

SUNSOFT is offering 'Puzzle Game Shanghai', a version of the
classic tile-stacking game, for JPY1200. In the US, it's sold as
'Mahjong Solitaire' for $9.99.

Were you looking for something a little more 'exotic' from
Japan's developers? How about this one: Asial Corporation
Japan's free 'Abacus' application. It turns your sideways
iPhone/iPod touch into a clickety-clackety abacus you work with
a fingertip. (The interface looks a little pokey in
the video, so you'll get beaten down in speed competitions by
old shopkeepers with their real abacuses. But the way you reset
the virtual abacus by shaking the iPhone is kind of neat.)

Other offerings with a Japan feel include a Golgo 13 comics
reader, a postal code lookup utility, the 'Gengou Free'
conversion utility for Japanese/Western calendar years, and 'The
Wisdom' E/J dictionary. They're all easy to find inside the
Japanese App Store, so have at it, iPhone fans.

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Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) To slip an actual gadget into the above iPhone news: Sanwa
Supply has something to help you download and play with all
those apps as your iPhone's non-swappable battery runs out of
juice. The '400-BT001' is a JPY4980, 50-g lithium-ion polymer
battery that recharges via your PC's USB port and then powers
your iPhone via its dock connector. Powered up, the device will
grant you another 3.5 hours of talking time, 7 hours of video
watching, or 36 hours of audio listening. (Japanese)

2) The iPhone's big-name American rival is coming to the average
Japanese user. Research In Motion's BlackBerry smart phone (also
known as CrackBerry for its users' addiction to compulsive email
checking) is already sold by DOCOMO to businesses in Japan; from
August 1, 'BlackBerry Internet Service' becomes available to
individuals as well. DOCOMO has an English page with details on
the service and the new BlackBerry 8707h model, also available
from August 1. (English)

3) As mobile phone cams get more sophisticated, so do the
peripherals. GREEN HOUSE introduces its aluminum GH-2KA tripod
later this month for cell phone cams, with adjustable grip to
fit a variety of phones. It's also handy for watching your
phone's little One-seg TV. JPY1480. (Japanese)
Written by: Timm Tuttle
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