J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 92
Monday, March 3, 2003
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Name: PANASONIC VDR-M30K
Release date in Japan: April 2003 (overseas release set for spring)
The Gist: I've wanted one of these since they were just twinkles in
the eyes of smart engineers everywhere, and the better they get, the
harder it is to write about them without getting real jealous. The
VDR-M30K DVD player/recorder records onto 8cm DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs,
so you get the best of both worlds. Go for DVD-RAM if you want to keep
adding and deleting stuff (Panny claims you can rewrite up to 100,000
times with DVD-RAM, which should take you up until you're about 137
years old) or opt for the "once-only" DVD-R discs and save some yen or
cents in the process by using the cheaper media.
Owners will be able to record up to 120 minutes of digital video and
1,998 still images to the DVD media. For a quick review, users can
check out the thumbnails displayed on the 2.5-inch color LCD panel,
and there's no need to fret about recording over images you've laid
down previously because the M30K automatically finds space for you and
starts recording there. No chance of taping the Super Bowl over your
wedding video, then. The company also boasts about the machine's
ability to do "nonlinear editing" of the footage you're taken while
it's still right there in the camcorder. Bye bye, expensive editing
suites or peripherals. You can save still images onto an SD Memory
Card, thanks to the special slot in the VDR-M30K and there's a USB
port for direct connection to your computer.
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Category: Portable audio
Price: 39,800 yen from NHJ Direct(www.rakuten.co.jp/nhj/422403/)
The Gist: The iFP-195TC is a 512MB iRiver MP3 portable audio player
from NHJ, and it looks hot! Compatible with any flavor of Windows (Mac
isn't mentioned here at all, sadly), the 195TC is an update to the --
wait for it -- 190TC but has had the internal memory boost just
mentioned and now comes in black. There's also an armband, necklace
and carry case in the pack when you buy the machine (Hurry! Hurry!),
but otherwise the specs are the same as the previous models. Using USB
1.1 to hook up to a PC and capable of playing MP3, WMA and ASF files,
the player weighs only 33g and looks smarter than almost anything else
on the market. Even the armband accessory looks cool!
More info: http://www.iriverjapan.com
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Name: Ricoh RDC-i700 model G
Price: 208,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Feb. 27
The Gist: Surveyors all over the world will rejoice with the arrival
of Ricoh's RDC-i700 because it is GPS conversant. Aimed at business
users (we're thinking private eyes, professional explorers and garden
gnome hunters), the i700 will take a photograph and, with the aid of
the optional GPS card, work out the latitude and longitude of the spot
the photo was taken and record that information with the image.
The i700G has a 3,240,000-pixel CCD, so the photos these hardy boys
will be able to take will be very decent, maxing out at 2,048 x 1,536
dots, and there's a 3x optical zoom for close-ups.
If you care to lay down even more greenbacks (or, er, greybacks) and
buy the optional communications card, the camera will also act, says
Ricoh, as an "Internet terminal," allowing the sending of pictures
over email, ftp uploading, viewing Web pages and the like.
I would be more flippant but Ricoh has envisaged all sorts of very
serious and not at all hilarious applications for its new camera,
including use by disaster agencies, with someone going out to a
crash site, say, taking a pic and then having people back at the HQ
operations room pinpointing the location of said crash site using
mapping software on their PCs and so on. And the camera can record up
to 10 seconds of audio too, making it even more useful. So, enough
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