GW-311 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

--------------------------------------------------------
Japan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H

READ GADGETWATCH ONLINE AT:
www.japaninc.com
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
-----------------------------------------------------------
Issue No. 311 Friday August 29, 2008
Subscribers: 9467
SUBSCRIBE AND UNSUBSCRIBE TO GADGET WATCH:
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters/free_sign_up
---------------- PBXL IS BUSINESS MOBILITY ----------------

Do you need to make business calls from home or overseas?

USE PBXL'S CISCO SOFTPHONE SOFTWARE:

*PC-based software turns your computer into a 03 Tokyo phone
*Same features as PBXL's other Cisco IP phones
*Reduces cell phone and long-distance charges

Come see a demo at our monthly events:
http://www.pbxl.jp/seminarstt

CALL NOW: 03-4550-2557
info@pbxl.jp

Get your new phone system in three simple steps:
http://www.pbxl.jp/plans

-----------------------------------------------------------
========================================================

Reference380 renews TEAC's home audio line in Japan

Name: TEAC Reference380

Category: home audio system

Price: see below

Release date in Japan: August 25, 2008

Tokyo-based TEAC, a maker of professional and high-end consumer

audio equipment, is renewing its presence in the consumer

component stereo system market in Japan with a new 'hi-component

system', the Reference380. TEAC says the Reference series,

already available overseas, incorporates the expertise of top

European sound designers, and marks the first new TEAC consumer

brand sold in Japan since the 10-year-old high-end ESOTERIC

consumer line.

The black aluminum-paneled system has four main components:

* Analog amplifier (A-H380): 45W+45W, Signal-Noise Ratio 100dB

(IHF-A), frequency response 10Hz-65kHz, Total Harmonic

Distortion (THD) 0.1%. JPY47,250.

* CD player (PD-H380): Also plays MP3 and WMA files on CD/CD-RW

discs or USB drive. JPY42,000.

* Digital AM/FM tuner (TH-380): 30 AM/FM presets. JPY26,250.

* 2-way speakers (LS-H250): 2.5-cm silk dome tweeters, 13-cm

carbon cone woofers, 50W. JPY31,500.

Included with the amp component are an iPod docking station to

play your Pod tunes through the system, and a remote to control

the amp, CD player, and docked iPod.

The Reference line will appear at general electronics retailers

and specialty audio shops. TEAC plans to introduce additional

higher- and lower-end Reference branded components by the end of

the year.

More info: http://www.teac.co.jp/audio/teac/ref380/ (Japanese)

---------- Metropolis and eigoTown.com Party --------------

Join over 300 party animals for drinks, food and music!

September 6, 2008: 7:00pm - 10:00pm @ Feria, Roppongi.
After 10pm, feel free to stay and party the night away until
the early hours!

Cost: 5,000 yen
Show this email at the door to get in for 3,500 yen

All-you-can drink + Prizes!
(Trip for two to Macau courtesy of Viva Macau)
DJs + Single people

Click here to register: www.metropolis.co.jp/iparty/
Nearest stn: Roppongi

CORPORATE SPONSORS WELCOME

-----------------------------------------------------------
========================================================

CASIO EXILIM cameras fix flawed faces

Name: CASIO EXILIM EX-Z300 and EX-Z250

Category: digital still camera

Price: About JPY40,000 (EX-Z300), JPY35,000 (EX-Z250)

Release date in Japan: August 29, 2008

Every week there's a new twist in what face-recognition software

offers to do for us. This time it's the 'Make-up Function' in

the new CASIO EXILIM EX-series 'kondeji' (compact digital cams).

Cameras that automatically detect and flatter faces with ideal

focus and exposure are old news already, as is smile-recognition

that snaps grins only. The EXILIM models further add the ability

to analyze and smooth out variations in skin tone, hiding flaws

from winkles to moles to harsh sunlight shadows. You choose the

degree of 'make-up' to apply, from among 12 levels of

processing. It's like Photoshop fakery without the hassle!

Another trick of the EXILIMs' face-recognition engine is the

ability to register the mugs of family and friends. Take a group

shot, and the EXILIM will place priority on showing those

favored faces in the best light.

Want one more trick? All right: Say you want a 'two-shot' of you

and your date, but there's no stranger around to bother with the

request. So you resort to one of those self-portraits with the

camera at arm's length, right? But it's hard to hold the cam

still, and your spotty aim can leave out half a face. Here the

EXILIM will play the role of the missing stranger, waiting for

both faces to come solidly into view and then firing

automatically. Hai, po-zu!

Other 'do all the work for you' features include heavy digital

processing to best expose both subject and backgrounds in those

difficult night shots and backlit shots; automatic selection of

ideal shooting mode; vibration reduction coupled with automatic

ISO selection; and automatic focus adjustment for moving

subjects. The EXILIM even knows when you're using a tripod, and

adjusts its automatic settings accordingly.

Other specs: 10 megapixels (EX-Z300) / 9 megapixels (EX-Z250);

4x optical zoom (28-112mm); 3.0-inch display; H.264 video

(1280x720); 38MB internal memory; SD/SDHC and MultiMedia memory

card slot.

More info: http://dc.casio.jp/product/exilim/ex_z300/ (Japanese)

http://dc.casio.jp/product/exilim/ex_z250/ (Japanese)

========================================================

SCE PSP-3000 game machine coming this October

Name: SONY PSP-3000

Category: portable game machine

Price: Not yet announced

Release date in Japan: October, 2008

Here's one for the gamers: Sony Computer Entertainment's

announcement of its latest PlayStation Portable game machine,

the PSP-3000. First, a really short background on the PSP:

The PlayStation Portable hit shops in Japan at the end of 2004,

and North America in March 2005. It's sold over 40 million units

worldwide since. The PSP is a slab-shaped game machine with

optical drive, a good-sized screen, WiFi, Internet and

multimedia capabilities, and the ability to connect with other

PSPs and the PlayStation 3 console. It received a 'Slim and

Light' redesign (PSP-2000) about a year ago, shedding weight and

bulk while gaining USB charging, composite TV output, a brighter

screen, and 64MB of onboard memory (up from 32MB).

What's new in the PSP-3000? Two things, mainly: a better screen

and a microphone.

The new screen offers 'the highest-level contrast ratio,

response time, and wider color gamut possible on a portable LCD

screen', says SCE, as well as anti-glare coating to improve

outdoor viewing. The unit's video-out port also receives an

uprade, with the ability to output gameplay in interlace format

for non-progressive TV screens.

While that all sounds nice, the microphone is what will enable

new types of gameplay and usage. Expect to see upcoming games

gain voice-based controls and network play chat capabilities.

SCE is already promoting Skype capability as a selling point,

making the PSP-3000 into an Internet phone.

That still makes for a pretty modest refresh; other than the

screen and microphone upgrades, the PSP-3000 is little changed

from the current model. Available colors will be Piano Black,

Mystic Silver, and Pearl White. SCE promises a worldwide launch

in October 2008.

More info: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/080821ae.html

(English)

========================================================

Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) This sounds good in a world ever-more concerned about energy

costs and electronic waste: Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology

(TMD) and Idemitsu Kosan have announced a new small-molecule

organic electroluminescent (EL) display panel that reportedly

lasts 30 times as long as current TMD screens while sipping a

scant 1/10 the electricity. The 2.2-inch QVGA screen for mobile

devices uses 100mW of power and lasts up to 60,000 hours, the

best specs recorded yet for the category. TMD provided the TFT

substrate design technology and element design technology, while

Idemitsu chipped in RGB light-emitting materials. The two

companies are now cooperating on commercialization plans.

Info: http://www.tmdisplay.com/tm_dsp/press/2008/08-08-20_e.html

(English)

2) Twice in one month? SoftBank Mobile has again lowered the

minimum price of its all-you-can-eat 'Packet Flat-rate Full'

data plan for the iPhone 3G. The minimum fee for low packet

usage, lowered earlier this month from a flat JPY5985 to

JPY1695, now drops to JPY1029 per month. If you're a light data

sipper, you might pay as little as JPY2324 per month for your

combined White Plan, S! Basic Pack, and Packet Flat-rate Full

data plan (though once you start playing with web sites and the

App Store and other iPhone goodies, you're not likely to stick

to that data diet).

The move is SoftBank's response to competitor DoCoMo recently

dropping its minimum packet plan fee to JPY1029. Keep fightin it

out on price, boys; I've got lots of stuff to download!

Press release:

http://www.softbankmobile.co.jp/ja/news/press/2008/20080826_01/

(Japanese)

Previous price drop:

http://www.tekronomicon.com/stuff/2008/08/

iphone_3g_data_plan_just_got_cheaper_for_light_users_in_japan

(English)

3) One feature you won't find on a Macintosh computer is a

television tuner. The fairly recent Apple TV peripheral, for all

its capabilities, still doesn't bring in actual television.

Hence a variety of third-party peripherals for TV-loving Mac

users, including the upcoming GV-MACTV from Kanazawa-based I-O

DATA. An update of the earlier GV-MVP/H for Windows, the small,

slim white box will connect to a Mac's USB port to pull in

Hi-Vision-quality terrestrial digital TV for viewing and

recording to hard drive or DVD. The unit will hold the B-CAS

cards used in Japan to decode digital broadcasts, and will ship

with TV management software that will work with an Apple Remote.

Available by the end of the year; no price yet. (The Windows

device is JPY15,700.)

Press release: http://www.iodata.jp/news/2008/08/08_pr014.htm

(Japanese)

GV-MVP/H for Windows:

http://www.tekronomicon.com/gadget/2008/07/

io_data_tuner_s_record_multiple_terrestrial_digital_tv_channels

(English)

----------------------------------------------------------------
STAFF
Written by: Timm Tuttle
READ PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS
Gadget Watch online archive:
http://www.japaninc.com/gadget_watch
Check out our other Japan-specific newsletters:
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters_main_page

SUBSCRIBE AND UNSUBSCRIBE TO GADGET WATCH:
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters/free_sign_up

ADVERTISING INFORMATION
To advertise in this newsletter, contact: ads@japaninc.com

FEEDBACK AND PROBLEMS
We welcome your viewpoint: editors@japaninc.com
NB Please do not reply to this newsletter
-- it's outgoing only, so we won't get it!
Technical problems: webmaster@japaninc.com
Copyright (C) 2008 Japan Inc Communications KK.
All Rights Reserved.

GadgetWatch mailing list
GadgetWatch@mailman.japaninc.com
http://mailman.japaninc.com/mailman/listinfo/gadgetwatch

--------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
----------------------------------------------------------------
Paccess Inc helps you 'Go Global Now!'

For over 10 years, Paccess Inc has assisted companies with
market entry, strategic partner search, and trade development
in the US, Japan, and Latin America.
To expand your business in overseas markets,
visit www.paccess.com, or contact info@paccess.NET
(English, Japanese, or Spanish OK).

----------------------------------------------------------------
----------------- ICA Event - Sept 11 ---------------------

Event: SUMMER NETWORKING PARTY!!

Topic: Joint event with ACCJ ICT Committee and the
Indian IT Club

Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
(RSVP Required)

Date: Thursday, Sept 11, 2008
Time: 6:30-8:30pm - includes open bar and buffet
Cost: 6,000 yen (members), 7,000 yen (non-members)
Open to all-venue is The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
http://www.fccj.or.jp/aboutus/map

-----------------------------------------------------------

business