GW-56

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos From Japan
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Issue No. 56

Thursday, April 18, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Sotec PC Station G4170
Category: PC
Price: 109,800 yen
Release date in Japan: April 11, 2002

The Gist: It's been a while since we mentioned the pioneering
(in terms of price tag, which is a very lovely form of pioneering) PC
supplier Sotec, but with its new PC Station G4170 at just a touch over
100,000 yen available directly from the company's hotline, it's time
to blow the value-for-money trumpet again.
With the recent arrival of Xbox here, you may not be so keen on
splashing out the equivalent of a couple of thousand greenbacks for a
beige box to play your games on, but if your computing intentions are
a little more practical than that, Sotec's new offerings could be
right up your alley. Loaded up with a hot, new Pentium 4 CPU, the
G4170 desktop PC comes in 12 varieties, topping out with a 1.6GHz
processor, 128MB of RAM, a 40Gb hard disk, internal CD-RW drive and
Windows XP driving all the fun. There's even a GeForce 2 MX400 video
card thrown in and, something I've always liked about Sotec machines,
a whole bunch of connection options, including three USB sockets, 2
Firewire (IEEE 1394), a Type II PC card slot and a 100Base-TX Ethernet
interface. And if you're looking to impress the chicks, it's only
136,600 yen to pick up the G4170 with a 17-inch TFT LCD display so
your pad looks like some kind of high-tech space station or whatever.
(A little further down the line, you can pick up a new Celeron
1.3GHz-powered desktop beauty from around 75,000 yen.)

More info: http://www.sotec.co.jp/news/2002/0410_g4170r.html

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Name: NEC NL4823HC37-03
Category: Display
Price: 30,000 yen
Release date in Japan: July 2002

The Gist: Announcing an extremely sweet little display with an
incredibly uncouth name, it's a very good job they don't let NEC name
cars, racehorses and new-born Japanese babies.
The NL4823HC37-03 is a 7in TFT LCD intended for use with portable DVD
players, car navigation systems and such like. With (only) a 480x234
dot resolution, the, hmm let's call it the HC37, is a SA-SFT TFT,
which apparently means Super Advanced Super Fine, with a contrast
ratio of 300:1, around 400 candles and a vertical and horizontal
viewing angle of 170 degrees. Weighing only 180g, the HC37 has an
analog RGB interface and will be on show at the EDEX 2002 electronics
display exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight from April 16 to 18.

More info: http://www.nec.co.jp/press/ja/0204/1102.html

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Name: SCEI totally mad soccer boots (er, not really)
Category: Useless Gaming Peripheral (UGP)
Price: TBA, maybe...
Release date in Japan: When pigs fly

The Gist: In what is a totally off-the-wall, hare-brained, ludicrous
flight of fancy for the game maker, a slightly belated April Fool's
joke or a rather sad attempt at increasing our soccer videogaming
amusement (now studded for your added pleasure), SCEI has announced a
'room soccer' gaming peripheral, in the shape of a couple of
thimble-like soccer boots that you stick on the end of your thumbs
when you have a PlayStation 2 controller in your mitts.
In recognition of the popularity of virtual soccer (there are
currently 11 PlayStation games available on the market in Japan) and
how just about everyone likes a bit of a kick around in their spare
time, the soccer game thimbles are also intended as a tribute to the
national team and should work with whichever of those eleven games is
your favorite flavor of soccer. Anyone hoping for a sneak peak at the
nifty peripherals can head down to the PlayStation showroom in the
Sony Ginza building from the end of this month.

More info: http://www.scei.co.jp

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Name: Creative Inspire 5.1 Digital 5600, TravelSound, Inspire 2.0 1300
Category: AV
Prices: 29,800 yen, 12,800 yen and 4,980 yen respectively
Release date in Japan: End April 2002

The Gist: In a sentence, the Inspire 5.1 Digital 5600 is a Dolby
Digital and DTS-compatible, 5.1-channel sound system, the TravelSound
has an integral digital amp and titanium drivers and the Inspire 2.0
1300 is a 2-channel system with an active subwoofer.
The Digital 5600 package, curiously, follows the prior release of the
Digital 5700 system, with a 5.1 channel decoder, the whole six-speaker
deal and CMSS (Creative Multi-speaker Surround) technology. The sub
whacks out 24W, the center speaker 18W and the front and rears 6W per
channel. It also comes with a handy wireless remote control.
The cool, all-in-one TravelSound unit includes small stereo active
speakers and will run for up to 35 hours on just four tiny little no.4
batteries. They'll fire up on just about any voltage you chuck at them
between 100 and 240V and create an enhanced sound stage with just 2W
per channel.
Lastly, there's the Inspire 2.0 1300 active speaker duo, knocking
out 5W per channel, weighing in at only 1.9 kg combined and hooked up
via stereo mini jacks. There's a headphone jack in the front of one of
the pair, along with controls for volume, bass and treble.

More info: Inspire 5.1 Digital 5600:
http://japan.creative.com/press/2002/020412-inspire5600.html
TravelSound: http://japan.creative.com/press/2002/020412-tsound.html
Inspire 2.0 1300:
http://japan.creative.com/press/2002/020412-inspire1300.html

Name: Digibino
Category: Digital camera
Price: Around 50,000 yen
Release date in Japan: May 21, 2002

The Gist: Part of the fun of having your photograph taken is having a
laugh at the photographer's expense as he (or she) squints horribly,
screws up (usually) the left eye and pulls off some contorted facial
expression as he attempts to squeeze a decent perspective out of the
tiny viewfinder on the back of the camera.
But our frivolity may come to an abrupt end if Asahi Kougaku has
anything to say about it with the new Digibino, in a collaboration
with Pentax. Damn those killjoys! At first glance on the website, the
DB100 looks like a CD/radio boombox with an LCD screen stuck on the
top. Cunningly, however the Digibino is in fact a digital still camera
with a binocular-like viewfinder. (Digibino, geddit? Digital
binoculars...?)
Particularly suited to camera enthusiasts with two eyes, the binocular
camera gives seven times magnification, making it perfect for sports
photography. Does that make sense? The Digibino DB100 has an
850,000-pixel, progressive scan CCD giving super-fast shutter speeds
of up to 1/8000 sec, a focal length of 2m to infinity and is capable
of taking five shots in just one second and a total of 10 continuous
shots. There's 16MB of built-in memory and a maximum image resolution
of 1,024x768 dots, allowing up to 100 pictures at that resolution and
up to 300 at lower quality.

More info: http://www.pentax.co.jp/japan/index.html

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Subscribers: 2,027 as of April 18, 2002

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

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