GW-70

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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. 70

Thursday, August 15, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

(Writer's note: We live at a fantastically interesting time, in which
technological boundaries are being continually pushed back, where the
only real obstacle to high-tech advancement seems to be our
imaginations. And so it is that, in Kawasaki city, Kanagawa
prefecture, the ROBO-ONE conference is being held for the second year
running, showcasing bipedal robots in a tournament that champions all
that we hold dear, the sum total of our fevered yet inspired
imaginings for the inhabitants of centuries to follow, a vision of our
future if you will: fighting. Yep, we make robots, we make 'em fight.
Who says humans aren't evolving?)

Name: Personal Media PMC CD Shredder Write (Lite)
Category: PC peripherals
Price: 89,000 yen
Release date in Japan: August 6, 2002

The Gist: A widget designed for the high-tech 'creative accountant,'
for the man that has it all and has it all to lose, we welcome the PMC
CD Shredder Write (Lite) from Personal Media. This thing would have
had Worldcom leaping with joy if only they'd got to hear about it
sooner -- word has it that the ailing company has already placed
orders for 100,000 units of Personal Media's next brilliant invention,
the Fuzzy Math Calculating Machine, due for release sometime next
fiscal year. The PMC CD Shredder doesn't actually cut the CDs into
long, thin strips, but rather, before scrapping the disc, renders the
data on the CD unreadable. It embosses the recorded surface of the
disc with markings that make any attempt to read the media -- be it
CD-ROM, CD-R or CD-RW -- fruitless. Et voila! One shiny new drink
coaster. All bark and no byte. The shredder will destroy up to 20
discs a minute, which means that, in a single day, you could totally
demoralize literally gadzillions of those tiny little digital people
who live inside your PC painstakingly copying all that stuff down onto
your discs in the first place. And, best of all, if you're already
deep in 'The Lone Gunmen' territory and a regular user of the Disk
Shredder series of data elimination software, you can pick up the PMC
Shredder Lite for just 59,000 yen. Just keep to the shadows when you
go to the store, move fast and stay low.

More info: http://www.personal-media.co.jp/press/press/020806_cdshl.html

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Name: E-Lets Win-MX
Category: PC peripherals
Price: Open (but approx. 4,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: early August 2002

The Gist: They may be the unsung heroes of the computing world but
today in GW PC peripherals are getting some serious (OK, maybe not too
serious) air time. E-Lets' new Windows Music eXplorer is a USB 1.1
compatible audio adapter, or 'interface,' that allows the high-quality
recording of music files you've downloaded to your PC onto MD or other
digital media by way of optical audio connection or regular analog
output. Digital to digital recording, in other words, so you can then
listen to all that goodness through decent hi-fi speakers rather than
what's on your PC setup. And your girlfriend won't think you're quite
such a geek. The sampling rate of the digital output is 48kHz, so your
recording machine (MD or whatever) will need to have a built-in
sampling rate convertor. Unfortunately, it won't handle 5.1
multichannel surround sound formats like Dolby Digital or DTS. Bah!

More info: http://www.e-lets.co.jp/news/r_win_mx.htm

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Name: Samsung LT40A13W
Category: AV
Price: 998,000 yen
Release date in Japan: now

The Gist: Well, they said it couldn't be done, or at least not so
soon, and they were wrong. Don't you just hate "they"? Don't you think
"they" should just go and get a life? Ahem, anyhow, despite many
people saying that LCD screens are only good for anything under 36
inches or so, Samsung has waded in to prove everyone wrong with the
rather stunning-looking LT40A13W. Not quite as stunning as the slinky,
Lycra-clad hot babe standing right next to it on show day, of course,
but a good attempt all the same. The LT40A13W uses 2,950,000 pixels to
kick out a crisp and clear 1280x768 dot high vision display and,
unsurprisingly, is laying claim to being the world's largest LCD
television. No argument here. A mere tenth of the width of a regular,
36-inch CRT television, the new LCD panel has D4 digital connections
where it matters and 'virtual surround' circuitry for that
super-simulated 360-degree surround sound. It only weighs 21.5 kg, so
you can hang it up on the wall so long as you then nip next door and
pile all your neighbor's furniture up against the other side in a sort
of cross-bracing position, then go back into your own apartment and
settle in to watch your TV program, or a DVD, or a video. Or two TV
channels at the same time, come to that, because this 40-incher has
two integral TV tuners and a 'double screen' capability so you and
your partner can both get a full 20 inches at the same time. Um,
moving on...did I mention it was wide-screen?

More info: http://www.samsung-shop.eins.ne.jp/html/news/n_020809_03.html

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Name: Sony VPL-HS10
Category: AV
Price: 350,000 yen
Release date in Japan: October 21, 2002

The Gist: The new Cineza VPL-HS10 is described as an "LCD video
projector for home use" and indeed it is a projector that would look
very cool in your home. If you can afford it.
The VPL-HS10 has three built-in 0.87-inch wide XGA LCD panels, each
capable of 1,090,000 pixels, and a new 180W UHP lamp to produce a
stunning contrast ratio of 700:1 and throw 1,000 ANSI lumens against
the wall (when 'Cinema Black' mode is switched off) to produce a
high-vision compatible image. In this Cinema Black mode, the supplied
voltage is reduced by 20 percent, keeping the severe brightness down
a bit and giving out only 850 ANSI lumens, which assists in the
reproduction of blacker blacks, the bane of LCD projectors.
With rear connections for every source from HDTV to RGB and down, the
VPL-HS10 can handle inputs from digital televisions and progressive
scan DVD players to your PC and, thanks to the inclusion of a Memory
Stick slot ("It's a Sony!") will even display your holiday snaps taken
in still JPEG or moving MPEG-1 format. The clever 'Side Shot' function
is now in its second iteration in this Cineza. It only weighs 5.4kg
and can be secured to the ceiling if you want (doesn't that kind of
limit the cool side shot thing?) and are prepared to help such an
installation along via the purchase of a few metal bracket accessories
that Sony has thoughtfully knocked up for you for a paltry 50,000 yen
extra. So, if any uber-kind and unfeasibly wealthy readers are
reading, it's my birthday a few days after the VPL-HS10 is out. Hint,
hint.

More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200208/02-0807

Name: BV and Disney set
Category: AV
Price: 29,800 yen
Release date in Japan: October 25, 2002

The Gist: The bundle comprises a Disney 'dual player' DVD and VTR deck
and the Buena Vista Home Entertainment Limited Special Edition of
"Beauty and the Beast" on DVD. Claiming that the main concept of the
multi-functional player is to be "simple and cute" -- not unlike your
average Harajuku regular, then -- the DVD/VTR deck not only comes in a
bright, vomit-inducing primary color paint job but has, wait for it, a
Mickey Mouse-shaped remote control. Kawaiiiiiiiiiii!! For which we
apparently have Funai to thank. Gee, thanks Funai. There's a second,
more fully functional remote included too, in case you feel reckless
enough to want to wrestle the cute mousey one free of your child's
grip. The player is, after all, compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS
and comes with bookmarking, screensaver and 4x zoom features. The VTR,
VHS or whatever is loaded with 19-micron heads and is compatible with
G-code for very simple operation and makes life even easier with
visual search and automatic head cleaning functions.

More info: http://www.disney.co.jp/videos

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Subscribers: 2,479 as of August 15, 2002

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

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