GW-81

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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. 81
Friday, November 15, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: SV-SD50
Category: Portable Audio
Price: Open (but approx 15,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: December 10, 2002

The Gist: One of those gadgets that's taken a while to get really,
really, good but is getting there now, the portable audio player may
well be indispensable in the coming months as it gets progressively
colder in Japan. Forget about the mass of seething humanity just
inches from your face (or, more likely, somewhere around chest level)
crammed into the carriage of the train and rather focus on the sweet
tunes being piped into your head courtesy of the dinky SV-SD50. This
new one from Panny is AAC, WMA and MP3 capable and will give 31 hours
of continuous playback on four alkaline batteries. That'll see you
through several tedium-filled revolutions of the Yamanote line. The
SV-SD50's tiny dimensions (under 5x7x2cm and a featherweight 41.4g)
mean it can stay tucked out of the way in a shirt pocket. A display
keeps you informed about the status of the batteries, there's S-XBS
circuitry to provide a stomping bass, and you can set the thing to
play your tunes at random so you don't get used to what's coming up
next. Portable audios are now cheap and they can go for ages. What's
not to like?

More info:
http://www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn021111-
1/jn021111-1.html

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Name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1
Category: Digital Cameras
Price: Open (but approx 60,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: November 16, 2002

The Gist: The new Lumix DMC-FZ1 has been created to bring a little
high-quality, high-speed lurve into your digital camera life, thanks
to its new "Venus Engine" LSI; a 50 percent improvement over that
found in the F1 providing faster operation with a shutter time lag of
0.1 second and the ability to reel off four shots a second. More punch
comes from the classy Vario/Elmarit Leica lens, a 12x optical zoom
(not lens) and a 2.1 megapixel CCD. The biggest image the camera can
produce weighs in at 1,600x1,200 dots, and seven of those babies will
squeeze onto the supplied 8MB Smart Media card.

Users can go fully auto or manual, switching from 50-400 ISO, altering
the shutter speed, aperture and whatever else takes their fancy and
choosing shooting modes from macro, portrait, night shot and so on via
the FZ1's "scene mode dial."

The camera will hook up to a PC via USB or serial, and the new,
compact body weighs only 318g (350g with the batteries in the camera).

More info:
http://www.matsushita.co.jp/corp/news/official.data/data.dir/jn021010-
3/jn021010-3.htm

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Name: Nikon Coolpix 4300
Category: Digital Cameras
Price: 87,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 23, 2002

The Gist: Not to be outdone, Nikon is announcing another digicam, this
one a touch more expensive than Panny's FZ1 and representing a whole
different set of choices and priorities. The fantastic 12x zoom is MIA
here (you only get a 3x optical zoom), but the pixel count is more
impressive at four million. This makes the largest image the camera
can produce 2,272ラ1,704 dots. Clearly targeted at the amateur snapper,
the 4300 has more "scene modes" for stress-free shooting under varying
conditions (12 of them) and comes with a "small picture" function that
will allow the simple transfer of images via email or for uploading to
a homepage by creating one of four different easy-to-manage file sizes
from your snap. The 4300 also weighs a whole lot less than the Lumix,
at only 230g. Released at the same time is a very smart looking EDIII
"Field Scope" aimed at, erm, "Nature Watching" folk who need to zoom
in on their prey at up to 73 times magnifying power and don't mind
stumping up a cool 80,000 yen for the privilege. And it weighs a
whopping 1kg.

More info:
http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/jpn/whatsnew/2002/e4300j_bl_02.htm

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Name: NTT DoCoMo SH251iS
Category: Mobile phones
Price: n/a
Release date in Japan: November 16, 2002

The Gist: I don't normally talk about mobile phones, since last time I
managed to royally screw up translating a feature set on one unit and
had the wrath of several alert and concerned readers descend upon me.
However, being human and therefore genetically incapable of learning
from my mistakes, I'm trying again, simply because the Mover SH251iS
looks so damn cool. The i-mode phone has a 310,000 pixel CCD camera on
board but the big draw with this thing is its supposed 3-D LCD
display. The 2.2-inch TFT LCD panel knocks out the requisite 65,536
colors and, apparently, any image taken with the internal camera can
go through the "3D editor" function and be turned into a
three-dimensional image. The camera also has a macro function and can
take 10 seconds' worth of moving images. There's even a 1.2 inch,
5.536-color STN "sub display" on the front of the clamshell phone so
you don't even have to open it up. Standby time is 360 hours, with 135
minutes of in-use time, and the whole thing only weighs 110g. Voila.

More info:
http://k-tai.impress.co.jp/cda/article/news_toppage/0,,11678,00.html

Name: Sharp Zaurus SL-C700
Category: PDA
Price: Open

The Gist: Can't end a GW without a world's first claim, so here it is.
Sharp is proud to announce the first ever PDA incorporating a
Continuous Grain Silicon "System LCD," which, you'll be delighted to
hear, kicks out a high-resolution VGA display of 307,200 pixels. And
just in case the benefits aren't clear enough, here's the official
line: "System LCDs contribute to making products smaller and
lighter as well as raising their reliability." So a GOOD THING・and
who am I to argue? This also, says Sharp, gives an image that is four
times clearer than anything the company has produced thus far -- one
of those dubious claims that immediately makes you think "why would
they tell you that? Why draw attention to the fact that the previous
products were, frankly, crap?" Only joking, of course -- the SL-C700
is a lovely looking machine and, in a departure for the regular Zaurus
line, features a fold-back QWERTY keyboard with a 10.75 mm pitch that
is the same size as the screen facing it -- a sort of clamshell
design. Like its stable mates, the SL-C700 can rotate the onscreen
image for viewing both portrait or landscape style (great for looking
at manga on the train ... allegedly), comes with lots of pre-installed
software including a word processor, spreadsheet program and
photo-editing stuff and can quickly and automatically detect the
presence of comms kit such as LAN cards or PHS cards for your mobile
phone.

Sharp also announced the SL-B500 PMT, an improvement over previous
models, incorporating a long-life battery (giving 18 hours of juice)
and one of the more familiar Zaurus slide-out keyboards. The SL-B500
has a 400 MHz PXA250 CPU and uses Linux Kernel version 2.4.18 but
otherwise looks pretty much identical to previous models.

More info: http://www.sharp.co.jp/press/p021112-1.html

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Subscribers: 2,689 as of November 15, 2002

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

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