J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Issue No. 64

Thursday, 4 July 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Sony DSC-U10
Category: Digital Cameras
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: July 12

The Gist: Banging out more products than you'd have thought possible
or even necessary, Sony nonetheless appears to have come up with
another Wunderkid. It's the 87g baby Cybershot 'U' and, boy, is it
mini! It's smaller than a single meishi (business card) and about half
the weight of even the P2! And boy, isn't the model showing it off
totally gorgeous! She is! Just check out the URL link. Anyway, the U10
is a 1,300,000-pixel digital still camera with a cool sliding lens
cover -- it turns the unit on and off -- and it's clearly a model
aimed at the folks who love to love cute. With full auto focus, scene
selection (3) and movie modes and a one-second startup time, this is a
camera that should be as easy to use as it is to look at. A closer
look at those stats reveals the actual dimensions of the new camera
are 84.5 x 39.8 x 28.6mm and it weighs 118g with the batteries
included. Transfer to your PC is by USB and Sony's been kind enough to
stick an 8MB Memory, er, Stick in the pack. The baby U10 is available
in classy silver or pastel baby shades: blue for a boy and pink for a
girl, presumably.

More info:

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Name: Panasonic DMR-HS2
Category: AV
Price: Expected to be about 140,000 yen
Release date in Japan: October

The Gist: This is as good as it gets for now. The HS2 from Panasonic
is a slim, progressive scan playback DVD RAM/R recorder with built-in
PC card slot and -- wait for it -- internal hard disk. The 40 Gig internal
hard disk allows 52 hours of recording in EP mode (and you know the
drill -- it goes downhill from there as you upgrade the quality of the
recording), 12 hours on a double-sided DVD-RAM disc and six hours on a
DVD-R disc. But just by giving you those three options, Panasonic
deserves a medal, in my opinion. Users can record and play back
previously recorded programs simultaneously, as well as perform that
cunning 'Time Slip' trickery by starting to watch something they've
just recorded while their recording carries right on through it all.
And they'll be able to stream those recordings living on the hard disk
over to a DVD for safe, permanent keeping, taking only about five
minutes to transfer one hour's worth. But the fun in the machine is
probably in creating your own DVDs -- with the DV input, owners can
connect their miniDV camcorder directly to the unit and lay the
footage of their recent escape-from-Tokyo adventures straight to a DVD
disc. Fantastic stuff. It's a DVD recorder and a hard disk. It's
technology at it's best. It's mine, if I can just find about 140,000
yen if and when it comes over to Japan (the HS2 was just shown at the
TECHXNY/PC Expo in New York.

More info:

The latest issue of J@pan Inc magazine is now available online!
Click here for the lowdown:

Subscribers can access our hot-off-the-press features, including:

- Martha, Wal-Mart and the Next American Invasion
Martha Stewart's empire is reeling under the weight of a stock
scandal. Roland Kelts explains why Japan is looming larger in her
future and how other American retailers like the gigantic Wal-Mart aim
to shake things up in Japan.

- Wireless China: Japan + 400 million
NTT DoCoMo's European partners are bullish on Japan's favorite
business model, but a web of regulations and a bit too much hype may
stand in the way.

- Man with an Edge
Ten years after helping introduce the Internet to Japan, IIJ's
Koichi Suzuki is still fighting NTT. Henry Scott-Stokes wrings out
a few home truths.

J@pan Inc:
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Name: NEC Versa Pro VA20S/AE
Category: PC
Price: 450,000 yen
Release date in Japan: July 18

The Gist: NEC has just produced a mega-resolution A4-sized notebook PC
with a 15in LCD screen capable of a 2,048 x 1,536 dot display.
That's QXGA, fact fans (Quantum Extended Graphics Array), which
results overall in 3.2 million pixels. Aimed at CAD (computer-aided
design) and DTP (desktop publishing) business users (BU), who need to
display extreme levels of detail on their computer screens, the new
Versa Pro is also quite the powerhouse, with a 2GHz Pentium 4 Mobile
CPU, 128MB of DDR SDRAM, 20GB hard disk, 64MB Total Mobility Radeon
7500 video card, 24-speed CD-ROM drive and runs on either Windows 2000
or Windows XP Professional. The VA20S/AE had a veritable Noah's Ark of
connection options, including two type II PC card slots (TTTPCCS), 2
IEEE1394 slots, 2 USB 2.0 slots and S-Video, Ethernet, Serial,
Parallel and external display sockets, too. True power-seeking, high
definition craving business users (TPSHDCBU) can opt to go for more
memory and a bigger hard disk as well as adding an optical drive, LAN
card or Bluetooth capability. Happily, it doesn't weigh as much as
Noah's ark, chiming in at only 3.8kg. Oh, and for the humor-challenged
readers out there, yes, I did make all those abbreviations up and no,
I know they're neither real nor accurate. Thank you and goodnight.

More info:


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Name: Audio Technica ATV-527SP
Category: AV Peripheral
Price: 3,000 yen
Release date in Japan: July 21

The Gist: Of course, a remote control unit shaped like a UFO with a
built-in 20mW speaker and headphone capability! How did we ever live
without it? Well, we'll never have to find out, now, thanks to the
ATV-527SP from Audio Technica. Good for controlling your TV, DVD and
VTR all at the same time -- not simultaneously, obviously, but all
with just the one unit. Oh, hang on: the speaker is for relaying the
sounds from your TV to where you're sitting up to five meters away on
the sofa. Makes sense, maybe, if you're getting on and slightly hard
of hearing. And AT even claims you can use it with your PlayStation 2
but woefully neglects to say whether it'll work with your Xbox or 'Q'
GameCube too. It weighs 130g, which kinda makes that tiny new
Cybershot camera from Sony look even more amazing, doesn't it?

More info:

BiOS knows data centers. Why? For years our expert
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Name: Toshiba MED900J
Category: Portable DVD
Price: About 110,000 yen
Release date in Japan: End June

The Gist: Offering way more resolution than its nearest competitor
(800 x 480), the MED900J is a portable DVD player with an 8.9in
polysilicon LCD TFT that kicks out 1,024 x 600 dots, which makes it
very nearly XGA quality. The theater-in-your-pocket can play back DVD
Audio, Video CD, CD-R/RW (and MP3 files recorded on that format),
DVD-R and regular ol' music CDs. It also has a VHF/UHF TV tuner built
in, but the big draw of this new machine is its D2 digital terminal,
allowing progressive scan output on a high-vision monitor. The
speakers are placed at the base of the screen, to either side and you
can get Dolby Digital and DTS sounds out of them, thanks to the
capacity to connect an optical sound cable to the player.
The 900J can also be hooked up to an external monitor and, to that
end, has Component, S-Video and Composite slots built into the side of
the casing -- something that makes it look far more like a mini-laptop
PC than some of its competitors. And just in case someone needs to
know, the 900J's dimensions are 217.3 x 163.8 x 35.1mm.

More info:

Name: Panasonic DVD-LV65
Category: Portable DVD
Price: 80,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 20

The Gist: One new portable DVD player a week should be enough for
everyone, but no! Here comes another, in the lovely shape of the LV65.
It's on sale now so I won't bang on about it, but anyone in the market
for one of these machines should check out the URL because the LV65
has its 5in LCD display perched on the end of a tilting arm, which
should be worth at least a quick look. The arm means viewers can watch
the screen in the regular clamshell configuration, but also fold it
back on itself so the screen lays flat against the top of the player
or, of course, at pretty much any angle in between. Smart.

More info:

Subscribers: 2,304 as of July 4, 2002

Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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