J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:


A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan


Issue No. 44

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Name: Casio Cassiopea E-2000 Pocket PC
Category :PDA
Price: Open
Release Date in Japan: February 2, 2002

The Gist: Trying to trump Toshiba's popular Genio PDA, Casio has
announced the E-2000 Pocket PC.
Featuring not one (iPaq), not two (Genio), but three expansion
slots, the E-2000 can accommodate a CompactFlash card, an
SD/Multimedia card and a PCMCIA card all at
the same time. With such wonders as the massive 1-GB IBM Microdrive
on a CF card, mobile modem cards, GPS systems and cards that allow a
VGA link to a projector or other display, Casio's new organizer is
an office to go. With now-standard Pocket PC features such as 64 MB
of onboard memory, a 65,536-color display, a 206 Mz Intel StrongARM
processor and a battery life of 12 hours, the E-2000 looks set to
make waves.
More info:

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Name: Sony PCV-W101/W
Category: PC
Price: Open (but around 160,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: February 2, 2002

The Gist:Some of the news in Gadget Watch is too fast even for the
companies concerned. Take Sony's new Vaio W for instance: Sony
hasn't yet had time to post the thing on its Web
site, but that doesn't mean we're not going to mention it here.
The Vaio W fuses keyboard and widescreen LCD monitor into a single
unit. This makes it incredibly compact -- only 19 cm deep when
closed -- and very portable. When not in use, the keyboard
folds up flat against the TFT monitor -- when you need it, you
simply fold it down into a normal keyboarding kind of position. Like
all Vaios, the W series machine is intended to make your AV
activities as straightforward as possible, including recording and
editing TV programs. The W is the first PC to house Sony's 15.3-inch
widescreen LCD panel and is powered by a 1.2-GHz Intel Celeron CPU,
a 40-GB hard disk, 256 MB of RAM, a combo DVD and CD-RW drive and
Windows XP.
More info:

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Name: Toshiba 'ubiquitous headset'
Category: Wireless comms
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: TBA

The Gist: Endowed with the wondrous power of Bluetooth, the
'ubiquitous headset' is Toshiba's newest innovation and provides
hands-free voice control in a wireless environment, meaning you can
turn stuff on and off by talking to it.
Claiming it as the world's first Bluetooth-enabled set of
headphones, Toshiba hopes people will flock to snap up the headset
and establish their own, personal digital wireless networks. The
headphones' built-in voice recognition engine can be used to send
voice commands across the ether to a variety of electronics products
-- be it digital camcorder, computer, PDA or whatever -- which could
be pretty cool for the home office. Think of the diminished wear
and tear on the flooring.
The headset has all sorts of other clever functions too.
There's easy dictation, for one. The user can send and receive audio
to a PC. Smarter still, the built-in voice synthesis engine means
that input can be received from a wireless-enabled device -- such as
your PC -- and be turned into speech by the headset. There are
obbvious benefits for the partially sighted here, since Internet
search results, for instance, or email can be read back to the user.
Since it's Bluetooth technology inside, the headset can be used
anywhere there's a Bluetooth infrastructure in place (NTT et al are
still committed to establishing these on trains, at stations and in
some cafes.)
Toshiba helpfully suggests they be used as 'audio guidance systems'
in places such as museums and art galleries, or in surgeries and on
help desks. And just in case you're thinking all this wizardry is
going to give you neck ache, be consoled that the whole caboodle --
Bluetooth module, CPU, battery, memory and antenna -- together weigh
less than 100 grams. Magic.
More info:

Name: Minolta DiMAGE X
Category: Digital Cameras
Price: 72,000 yen
Release date in Japan: February 6, 2002

The Gist: It may not have the highest number of pixels in the house,
but Minolta's DiMAGE X is incredibly thin (20 mm), incredibly light
(135 grams) and yet still manages 2 million pixels and
a 3x optical zoom. Or, to put it another way, it's the smallest,
lightest and thinnest 3x optical zoom digital camera in the known
Saving to an SD memory card (incidentally, the DiMAGE X also boots
up faster than any other digital camera in the world, in just 1.8
seconds), users should be able to squeeze out 120 snaps before the
rechargeable battery gives out. It even acts as a voice recorder
which, God knows, I always check on my 'must-have' list when
shopping for a digital still camera. DiIMAGE X owners get a high
level of control over contrast, color, brightness, resolution and
such things thanks to the company's proprietary CxProcess imaging
technology. And,
mercifully, like a lot of digital camera makers nowadays, Minolta
also champions the 'Itsu demo, doko demo kigaru ni mochi hakobi
dekiru' philosophy which, roughly translated, means 'Even idiot
foreigners can use it'. Thank goodness.
More info:

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Name: Nokia GSM phones
Category: Mobile phones
Price: Nokia 3310 28,500 yen, Nokia 3300 35,000 yen
Release date in Japan: On sale now

The Gist: KDDI has started selling a couple of very cool mobile
phones. The Nokia 3310 and 3330 are GSM handsets and, unlike most of
this country's mobiles, fancy a bit of overseas travel.
Operating on the same system as most of Asia, Europe and Africa
(covering 100 countries or so), these phones will be worth their
weight in gold if you go on a lot of business trips. The ones KDDI
is flogging are of the prepaid variety: you can't use them in the
States, but they'll work nearly everywhere else and are far cheaper
than they've been previously, with calls routed via the Swiss
network. Calls will cost about 200 yen a minute to make (and 100 yen
to receive). The handsets are priced at around 30,000 yen -- a
little more than ordinary top-of-the-range phones -- and will prove
a whole lot more useful if you step foot outside Japan.
More info:

Name: Elecom DTSL3-OPT
Category: PC Peripheral
Price: 4,800 yen
Release date in Japan: End of January 2002

The Gist: I may well be the only person to be getting excited about
this next widget, but that's not going to deter me. Elecom's new
DTSL3-OPT audio switch unit allows tech and game heads like me to
connect up to three different machines to a single set of inputs and
then switch between them at will.
You can have a DVD player, Xbox and satellite set top box all
going through one unit, for example, and still enjoy glorious
digital audio from each of them. With seven DVD players and eight
games consoles all jockeying for position on my home theater amp,
this kind of thing might not seem much, but (sob!) means a very
great deal to me. You can get them in black or silver. Put me
down for three.
More info:


Subscribers: 1,613 as of January 17, 2001


Written by Max Everingham (

Editors: Japan Inc magazine staff (


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