GW-74

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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. 74

Thursday, September 13, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your
browser.)

Name: Sony CSV-E77
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx 130,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: November 1, 2002

The Gist: This new "CoCoon" channel server from Sony is a 160Gb
broadband (or regular connection) hard disk recorder that allows
users to record up to 100 hours (35 hours at highest MPEG2 quality)
of programming based entirely on entering keywords. Launched under
the mantra of "Personalize, Ubiquitous, Upgradeable," the CoCoon
operates a bit like TiVo in Europe and the States, where you simply
enter a keyword ("ramen," for example) and the machine will search
through the electronic program listings for instances of the word. It
can then record everything it finds so you'll never again be without
the presence of the aforementioned noodles in your living room. If
you don't really trust your own little Robocop to find the Right
Stuff (see what I did there?), you can always go manual and find what
you want to record yourself. Thanks to a built in "preference
algorithm," the machine will keep an eye on your likes and dislikes
and proceed to suggest programs from the EPG that it thinks might
appeal to you. Like a sort of personal shopper, only for television.
No doubt in recognition of humans' risible inability even to set a
comparatively primitive VCR correctly, and make it as idiot-proof as
machinely possible, the onscreen user interface subdivides
programming into nine categories. So, uh, if we, like, dig sports
man, we just have to press the right button on the remote and we're,
like, watching sports. Cool! And if we can't even make that
elementary level of commitment to a single channel, the new interface
presents a "multi-view," indicating which programs have already
started, which are live broadcasts and so on. Kinda removes the joy
of channel surfing, though.
The "ubiquitous" refers to a constant, virtual presence of the
server, I think, because the CoCoon can connect via Ethernet or
broadband and otherwise. So, whether you're in the study on your PC
or roaming the streets, you can set the machine to record what you're
missing.
There's also a web-based "Come on! My Caster" service available
(www.jp.sonystyle.com/mycaster/), a dedicated home page for members
to access software upgrades, get keyword updates and so on.

More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200209/02-0904/

================================EVENT================================
"Attend the Tokyo MBA fair on September 19, 2002 at the Tokyo Hilton
in Shinjuku from 6-9PM and meet admissions directors from leading
international MBA programs including Cornell, Duke, and MIT/Sloan
School of Management. This is an event that serious MBA candidates
should not miss. For more information or to register in advance,
visit us on-line at http://www.thembatour.com/fairs/tokyo.shtml
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Name: Sony DCR-IP220K
Category: Camcorders
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: September 10, 2002

The Gist: The IP220K is the third new-format MICROMV digital
camcorder, after the IP7 and IP55, and represents the top end of the
series. The IP220K ditches the design of the previous two models and
is now crafted a bit more like the wedge-shaped C-2100 Ultra Zoom
digicam from Olympus. It has a 2,110,000-pixel CCD and Carl Zeiss lens
with a 10x optical zoom (and up to 120 of useless digital zoom). The
2.5-inch TFT LCD viewfinder/monitor looks huge and clear on the camera
and, given the miniscule dimensions of the MicroMV format, basically
takes up the whole of the back of the camera. Check out the photo and
you'll see what I mean. Held as intended, this means that the digicam
can be held one-handed with the screen very easily accessed with your
thumb.
The images from the 2-million-plus CCD comes out at at a maximum of
1,600x1,200 dots (UXGA). That huge LCD monitor is a touch panel for
added convenience, and because the camera is compatible with
Bluetooth, users can get onto the Internet and wirelessly transmit the
movies they've just taken in a snap. The MicroMV tapes last for 60
minutes and the camera's NP-FF70 rechargeable battery should go for up
to 130 minutes of continuous shooting, even with the LCD on.
Sony has also announced three new Bluetooth-friendly, Cybershot
digital still cameras, the DSC-F77, the DSC-FX77 and the DSC-F717.

More info: http://www.sony.jp/CorporateCruise/Press/200207/02-0731/

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Name: Kenwood DMC-Q series
Category: MD
Price: starting from 20,000 yen
Release date in Japan: (DMC-Q77) early Oct. 2002
(DMC-Q55) mid Oct. 2002 and (DMC-Q33) late Sept. 2002

The Gist: Launching a series of three new portable MD players with
integral digital amps and speakers built into the recharging stand/
cradle, Kenwood brings us the DMC-Q77, DMC-Q55 and DMC-Q33, each with
several color variations. All made in aluminum, the three players can
all knock out a "3D Digital Effect" which, I gather, is meant to make
them sound "wicked" and "da bomb," to use the current street smart
vernacular. Whoopee!

More info: http://www.kenwood.com/j/press/press20020905_1.html
http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/av/docs/20020905/kenwood3.htm

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Name: Xbox Live Beta Program
Category: Gaming
Price: 6,800 yen annually
Release date in Japan: November 15, 2002?

The Gist: It's been a bit of a Sony fest this week, so to redress the
balance a bit, here's something from Microsoft. The special closed
testing of the much vaunted online gaming service for the Xbox games
console, Xbox Live, is now in session and, in time-honored tradition
of Japanese companies, they decided to start it on "999," which is to
say, September 9 from 9am. The lucky few chosen for the Xbox Live test
get a super cool orange pack containing the necessary software, a
voice-recognition enabled headset and a special memory card holding
their unique 'Gamertag,' the name they'll be known by as they play
games online. Uniquely, this gamertag remains constant for all Xbox
games played by that one person, so they'll be instantly indentifiable
to friends and foes alike. The beta test is scheduled to end at
midnight on October 22, but the testers will then have a whole year's
subscription remaining for the 6,800 yen they paid. Bargain!

More info: http://xbox.jp/live/menu.html

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Subscribers: 2,482 as of September 13, 2002

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

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