GW-52

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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. 52

Thursday, March 14, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-F7
Category: Digital Cameras
Price: Open (but approx 70,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: March 16, 2002

The Gist: One of the more consistent refrains we hear from gadget fans
outside Japan is, "Why does Japan get all the good stuff first?!"
Of course, a lot of it is made here, but you'd think that in this day
and age, it wouldn't be too hard to time the release of a new product
so that every country gets to see it at roughly the same time. The
main reason for the staggered releases is not, as the more cynical
might think, the work of marketers but simply size; the size of the
organization concerned, that is. Thanks to its mammoth structure, Sony
has been able to do quite a few simultaneous worldwide releases of new
products and now the likes of Panasonic is following suit. This is
great news for all those not lucky enough to be living in Japan, and
hopefully it'll become the norm in the not too distant future.
Panasonic has announced the simultaneous worldwide release of its
crazy retro LUMIX digital camera line -- or most of it -- which
includes the LC40 and DMC-F7 models. The design is more Bolshevik
functionality than Bourgeois ostentation, but what they lose in style
they make up for in features. The company, however, is still using
Japan as a proving ground to some extent and is therefore releasing
the DMC-F7 model in three new colors from March 16 to see how they
sell. The three colors are champagne gold, blue and red and Panasonic
will be knocking out 15,000 units a month to sell to folk who think
plain old black or silver is just too passe.
More info:
www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn020307-2/jn02030...

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Name: Sony CMT-M700DVD
Category: AV
Price: 60,000 yen
Release date in Japan: April 21, 2002

The Gist: In the US, UK and Australia to name a few, the bookshelf
'combo' system is dying a bit of a death.
Most manufacturers are scaling back production and instead focusing
their efforts on portable personal audio, this year's big boom market
(along with widescreen TV and home theater). In Japan, however,
companies like Sony, Sharp and Kenwood just keep on knocking them out.
It's that size thing again, probably. So all hail Sony's new combo
creation that sticks an MD, CD, cassette, FM/AM tuner and DVD player
all together in the same box. It does this because, um, because it
can, probably. And because Sony reckons the 15,000 DVD itles out on
the Japanese market mean that a whole load of new customers can be
convinced to jump onboard the DVD bandwagon if they just had the right
kind of 'one box does all' sound system at home. The CMT-M700DVD has
digital D1, S-Video and composite connections and packs a 'Virtual
Enhance Surround' (VES) sound system which tries to make a decent job
of 5.1 channel sound with its two wee bookshelf speakers. The combo
system will even handle playback of CD-R/RW discs.
More info: www.sony.co.jp/sd/CorporateCruise/Press/200203/02-0306/

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Name: Toshiba 'FACE' 15ZLC7
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx 120,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: May 16, 2002

The Gist: The line is becoming increasingly blurred between the PC and
AV worlds - and the 'FACE' 15ZLC7 from Toshiba isn't helping. The
15ZLC7 is a high-luminance 15-in XGA LCD color TV panel. There are
three models in the series: 15ZLC7, 15ZLC7K and 15ZLC7R which are
silver, black and red. D1, S-Video and composite terminals, has a
160-degree viewing angle and weighs a sprightly 3.2 kg. The monitor --
sorry, panel -- creates a rich soundstage thanks to 'TruBass' sound
technology from SRS Labs, Inc and speakers with 4cm x 7cm cones.
More info: www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2002_03/pr_j0701.htm

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Name: Yamaha DVX-S100 home theater sound system
Category: AV
Price: 145,000 yen
Release date in Japan: End of June 2002

The Gist: Making a very strong entry in the home theater market,
Yamaha has announced the advanced DVX-S100, Tech TV's 'Best of CES:
Home Theater' winner, the S100 is capable of reproducing 6.1 channel
sound, and has decoders for AAC and Dolby Digital ProLogic II. The
progressive scan DVD player also has DCDi circuitry from US company
Faroudja which significantly reduces jaggies when displayed on TVs and
Plasma panels. Cinema DSP will handle all sound formats, from
monoaural right up to 6.1 (better go buy another speaker, eh?) and
includes settings such as 'Concert Hall,' 'Adventure' and 'Jazz Club'
to suit what you're playing. And here's the best bit about the S100 -
its compatible with DVD-Audio, the new advanced sound format competing
with SACD (and more likely to win, I reckon). Naturally, the machine
will also cope with VCD, regular music CDs, CD-R/RW discs, MP3 and
whatever else.
More info: www.yamaha.co.jp/news/02030702.html

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STAFF
Written by Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)
Editor: J Mark Lytle (mark@japaninc.net)

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