GW-67

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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. 67

Thursday, 25 July 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Marubeni Infotech PC speakers
Category: PC
Price: Open (but approx 17,000 yen for the Creature-Silver, 13,000
yen for the Sonnets)
Release date in Japan: End July

The Gist: If you're looking for some new computer speakers but, like
me, you live in a tiny shoebox apartment and have to put your PC
somewhere conspicuous (I favor the dining room table but, oddly the
wife isn't as keen), have a look at these.
These two new sets of speakers do their best to chip away at the PC's
reputation for being ugly, boasting loads of curves and
silver bits. Produced in cooperation with the US manufacturer Harman
Kardon, the JBL Creature-Silver is by far the sexiest of the two, like
a kind of chromed pixie hat, all curviness and shininess. With an
official color of 'silver metallic,' the Creature-Silver speaker set
comprises a large, hat-like 24W subwoofer and two satellites (4W into
2 channels), complete with what looks like miniature chrome fans set
into the front. The JBL Sonnet is a slightly less flashy affair, with
a contrasting grey and white color scheme, a 20W sub and a couple of
satellites with the same output as the Creature-Silvers.

More info: http://www.m-infotec.co.jp/news/0207_01.shtml

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Name: Aiwa XD-PG700
Category: DVD
Price: 29,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Now

The Gist: Is that a DVD player in the bed, or are you just pleased to
see me? Aiwa clearly recognizes just how much we like our gadgets here
at GW, and has come up with a DVD player that we can take to bed with
us.
Hmm, maybe that's taking things a bit far, but nonetheless, the
PG700 is a progressive scan DVD player that's only a miniscule 75mm
thick and is, therefore, apparently intended for use in the bedroom
and dens. It's one of those players that can handle all manner of
discs beyond regular movie DVDs -- it's also compatible with Video CD,
CD-DA, music CDs and MP3 tracks recorded on CD-R/RW discs. The player
has a 10-bit DAC (digital analog convertor) on board and has two D2
digital ports and one each of the S-Video, composite, RCA and digital
audio ports round the back. It can also search through your discs
blindingly quickly, at up to 100x fast forward, as well as being able
to kick out virtual 3D surround sound.

More info:
http://www.aiwa.co.jp/corporate/report/2002_e/xd-pg700e.html

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Name: Sharp VL-DD10
Category: Digital camcorder/camera/TV
Price: Open (camera) but expected to be around 160,000 yen
VR-TUD10 (TV unit) 12,000 yen
Release date in Japan: August 8

The Gist: Sharp is very good at coming up with new, whizzy ideas that
actually address consumers' needs. The latest marvel from the company
is this "new concept Camera Unit Exchange System."
The VL-DD10 Viewcam gives you a base unit comprising the tape
housing, a 3-inch 123,000-pixel LCD viewfinder monitor and all the
horribly fiddly electronics stuff that makes it all work, basically,
as well as IEEE1394 sockets.
Beyond that, you have some very cool separate units; in this case,
a miniDV camcorder unit, a still camera unit and a television tuner
unit. The idea being that you can swap them off and on the base unit
as the mood takes you -- genius! The miniDV movie camera bit has a 10x
optical zoom capability, Sharp's directional, high-speed zoom mike and
a quarter-inch, 680,000-pixel CCD.
The still camera bit has a four megapixel capability, along with a 3x
optical zoom and a built-in strobe flash. Users can get 2448x1632 dot
images at maximum resolution, which can be saved on SD or MMC memory
cards. Exposure, white balance and all that good stuff can be manually
controlled or left on full auto, there's S-Video output and you hook
it up to a computer via USB.
The TV tuner bit is optional and receives VHF 1-12 and UHF 13-62
channels, turning your clever new video and still camera into a
portable TV. How cool is that? As with all Viewcams, the monitor can
rotate through 270 degrees so you don't get shafted by errant light
beams and so on.

More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/020722-1.html

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Name: Ezi DMP-BK/H300 Dimple Case
Category: PC
Price: 10,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Now

The Gist: Since my own purchase of a hand-built PC on Ebay during my
whirlwind bout of severe Ebay addiction, which generally afflicts
newcomers to the service (an exceedingly dangerous period, let me tell
you), I've grown to appreciate the value of a great looking PC.
I came away with a powerhouse PC brooding away in a brushed silver
casing with a thick, beautiful green plate glass front panel and
polished silver buttons. So, kudos to Korean company Ezi, which makes
custom cases for your computers so, one day, yours could be as
delicious looking as mine.
Today, the case in question features a "multi-lighting lamp system!"
which, as far as I can make out, translates into a series of lights
that are linked with the actual operation of the PC. So it's one color
when you boot it up, changing depending on how hard your CPU is
working. Okaaaaayyy... Also, Ezi reckons that the most distinctive
feature of the Dimple case is the 'L' button in the front panel. Push
this and the color-changing cycle alters, creating entirely new
patterns of luminance. No, I have no idea what all this means either.
Sticking with safer, more pragmatic issues, the included power supply
is P4-compatible and good for up to 300W, there are seven expansion
slots and the case has a sliding cover with screws that can easily be
turned by hand, for easy access when tackling the inevitable upgrades.

More info: http://www.ezi.co.kr/e_pc.htm

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Name: IO Data portable hard disk
Category: PC peripheral
Price: HDP-U40P 33,000 yen
HDP-U20P 22,000 yen
Release date in Japan: HDP-U40P end July
HDP-U20P mid August

The Gist: What's very slim, silver, very sweet-looking and has a great
big smiley face? IO Data's new portable hard disk, that's what.
The HDP-U40P is the 40GB model and the HDP-U20P is the 20-gig version.
The big deal here is that you don't need drivers or an AC adapter to
make it work, because it sucks the juice directly from the USB bus
power (but not much, only 500mA) once it's hooked up via the USB
connector. The unit also uses the drivers supplied as standard with
your computer's operating system (good for either Windows or Mac) and
is compatible with the high-speed USB2.0 standard, as well as the
slower but more widely used version 1.1. This is a very pretty
alternative to a Zip drive, possibly more adaptable and is reasonably
handy, with dimensions of 17x82x139.5mm and a weight of only 200g.

More info: http://www.iodata.co.jp/news/200207/02_PR025.htm

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Subscribers: 2,378 as of July 25, 2002

STAFF
Written by: Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (editors@japaninc.com)

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