GW-59

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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. 59

Thursday May 30, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Sony SDM-X LCD monitors
Category: PC
Price: Open (but X82 approximately 130,000 yen
and X52 approx 65,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: June 15, 2002

The Gist: Announcing a new SDM-X series of LCD displays, Sony is
updating its older S series and chucking in built-in speakers, higher
brightness levels and cooler design values. It just keeps on getting
better.

One touch of the special 'Eco' button on the right-hand side of the
panel and the display goes into "destroy the planet slightly more
slowly" mode, sucking up 20 percent less juice than in normal mode,
at 55W (as opposed to 58W for the SDM-X82, for instance). The stylish
design also extends to an 'Ergonomic Angle' feature, whereby the
whole display can be tilted back through 80 degrees (30 on the stand)
and swiveled through 90 degrees (SDM-X82 only) for easier viewing.

The units all have a simple onscreen display feature to adjust gamma
levels and so forth and there's a DVI-D connector round the back to
accommodate a direct digital signal. Now down to business: The
18.1-inch SDM-X82 display is an Amorphous Silicon TFT (a-Si TFT)
screen capable of a resolution of 1280x1024 in 16,770,000 colors at
up to 85Hz and is visible through 160 degrees in both the horizontal
and vertical planes. So, yet another product to rival Sharp's
incredibly successful Aquos range. With the other two models you lose
a bit on these angles and the brightness levels (120 degrees
horizontally and 90 degrees vertically for the SDM-X52 at 300
candelas/sq m and 120 and 90 degrees respectively for the SDM-S51 at
250 cd/sq m) but the smaller, lower res displays obviously also
require less energy (e.g. 28W for the SDM-X52). The SDM-X52 is a
15-inch version, producing 16,190,000 colors and a resolution of
1024x768 at 75Hz. The maximum brightness is measured at 300
candelas/sq m and it has a contrast ratio of 300:1. There's also a
baby 15-incher available, the SDM-S51, which will probably sell for
about 55,000 yen.

More info: (SDM-X82) www.sony.jp/products/Consumer/Peripheral/Display/LCD/SDM-X82/index.html
(SDM-X52) www.sony.jp/products/Consumer/Peripheral/Display/LCD/SDM-X52/index.html
(SDM-S51) www.sony.jp/products/Consumer/Peripheral/Display/LCD/SDM-S51/index.html

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Name: Hitachi, Internet information terminal FLORA-ie 55mi
Category: PC
Price: 145,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 28, 2002

The Gist: Look out Sony Airboard! From the Hitachi Ubiquitous
Platform Group comes the FLORA-ie 55mi (aka "go go mi" - geddit?!),
an Internet information terminal in the increasingly popular tablet
style. Selling with or without a stand, the 55mi runs on a Midori
Linux OS and uses Windows and Java applications to provide broadband
wireless Web and email access. With built-in wireless IEEE802.11b LAN
capability, Hitachi describes the 55mi as offering an "in-house mobile"
for the home and office and at only 1.32kg, there's every chance it'll
be used as such. The screen is a 10.4-inch, touch panel TFT offering
resolution of 800x600 and the little slate is powered by a 400MHz
Transmeta Crusoe CPU with 128MB of SDRAM. Features such as one-touch
operation and handwriting input using a PDA-like stylus means the 55mi
is really aimed at novice users who may be put off by more complicated
looking PCs. There's no hard disk, since the tablet uses 64MB of
Compact Flash ROM instead and the regular battery should last for 3.3
hours, with a larger battery providing up to 7 hours' use.

Supposedly resistant to dust and water, this thing can be taken into
the kitchen and around the house or office.

More info:
http://www.hitachi.co.jp/New/cnews-m/2002/0528/index.html

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Name: Toshiba Genio e550G (update)
Category: PDA
Price: Approx 60,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 5, 2002

The Gist: Toshiba has decided to delay the release of its new,
improved (now with bigger screen!) e550G PDA handheld so that it can
refit them with a couple of booster rockets for mobile users in
low-orbit space as well as an automatic tea and coffee maker with
integral radio so it can wake owners up in the morning with a nice,
hot cuppa. Oh, OK, not really, but the little handheld is so fast,
cool and capable, you might be forgiven for thinking it should do
that stuff. The delay is apparently in order for Tosh to produce
enough units to satisfy expected demand and, accordingly, the hot
FIFA 2002 offer (whereby purchasers get the free PocketPC game) has
been extended from May 26 to June 5. Just in time for proud owners
to simulate the Japan vs Russia match in Yokohama on the 9th. Or even
the USA vs Portugal in Suwon on the 5th. Get in quick!

More info:
http://genio-e.com/pda/owabi.htm

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Name: Mitsubishi LCD-18MX2
Category: AV
Price: 220,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 21, 2002

The Gist: It's funny how all the electronics manufacturers seem to
announce the same kind of new product all together. Like they've all
sat down in a big room and said, "OK, this week it's MiniDisc players,
next week televisions," or something. Anyhow, continuing with the
display theme this week, Mitsubishi has announced a funky-looking
18-inch XGA(1024x768) LCD television. Sharp really did start a
revolution here. With a design not a million miles from the Aquos
series, the 18MX2 nevertheless is a bit more spacey looking and weighs
only 7.5kg. No carry handle, though. The display puts out 470 cd/sq m
and this one tilts and swivels too, so direct sunlight shouldn't pose
too many problems -- particularly given the 170-degree viewing angle.
Inputs include a D4 digital terminal, composite, S-Video, analog RGB
and a mini-stereo socket. There's also a CATV tuner built into the
unit along with virtual surround sound and both normal and cinema
viewing modes. It's getting hard to choose, isn't it?

More info:
http://www.melco.co.jp/news/2002/0523-b.htm

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Subscribers: 2,223 as of May 30, 2002

STAFF
Written by: Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)
Edited by: Bruce Rutledge (editors@japanic.com)

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