GW-8 -- FLORA-ie 55mi

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan
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Issue No. 8
Thursday, April 19, 2001
Tokyo

Name: FLORA-ie 55mi
Category: Internet Appliance
The Gist: Wireless LANs are popping everywhere -- airport lounges,
hotel lobbies, cafes, your workplace perhaps -- letting you surf the
Net just for wandering into their invisible realms. But first you
need the right gear. With that in mind, Hitachi has released the
FLORA-ie 55mi, a portable Net appliance with wireless LAN gear
pre-installed. The antenna, built inside the box, picks up 11 Mbps
connectivity off an IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN (that's the standard
that seems to be catching on). A touchscreen -- a detachable Web
pad, really -- can be written onto thanks to the easy-to-lose pen
and hand-writing recognition software. Spec-wise, FLORA packs a
400-MHz Crusoe TM3200 processor, 64MB SDRAM, a 10.4-inch TFT display
(800 x 600), two USB slots, and a PC card slot. The OS is Midori
Linux, and a Netscape browser and the Sylpheed email app come
pre-installed. If you step out of the high-speed wireless LAN zone,
you can still get nationwide PHS Net access. Think of it as
full-coverage insurance.
More info: http://www.hitachi.co.jp/New/cnews/2001/0417a/index.html
Price: 152,800 yen (depending on customization)
Release date in Japan: April 18

Name: Pioneer Happy AQUA AS-PS20
Category: AV Peripheral
The Gist: Now your speakers can get as wet as your little sister's
choice in music and there'll be no harm done. For some unfathomable
reason (ho ho), Pioneer have decided that none of us can truly live
without a high-tech, shiny, plastic, transparent bag. Enter the
Happy AQUA, which, as the name suggests, is at home in water as it
is on land. A kind of amphibious music solution, Happy AQUA is a
clear plastic case housing 2 speakers that, once you hook it up to a
suitable MiniDisc or CD player, becomes an underwater boombox for
the bathroom chucking out a fairly underwhelming 4 watts of music
power. With an estimated price tag of 3,000 to 5,000 yen and
available in pink, blue, or white, the Happy Aqua speaker bag is
cheap enough to use in any damp place of your choosing.
More info: http://www.pioneer.co.jp/press/release239-j.html
Price: Open
Release date in Japan: end April 2001

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Name: Bandai FSTYLE
Category: Digital Camera
The Gist: Designed for the amateur digital camera enthusiast who
wants to do it on the cheap, Bandai痴 two new FSTYLE digital cameras
have a built-in flash unit, produce 300,000-pixel snaps, and store
them on Smart Media cards. It almost goes without saying, with this
kind of budget line, that the cameras are designed to be as kind to
the user as they are on the wallet, with super-easy controls so you
can just fire and forget (um, or point and shoot). Bandai has
apparently built the FSTYLE after hearing that existing users of
their products wanted not just a tiny, cheapo digital camera, but
absolutely demanded it have a flash unit too, the rascals. And at
9.6cm by 6.3cm and weighing only 90g (the 'mini' model is a touch
smaller all round), their prayers are answered. So there you have
it, another satisfied customer or two.
More info: http://fstyle.channel.or.jp/
Price: 12,800 yen (FSTYLE), 8,980 yen (FSTYLE mini)
Release date in Japan: end of May 2001

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STAFF
Written by Max Everingham (max@everingham.net)

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