The Pulse 2

Back to Contents of Issue: April 2003

The best of J@pan Inc's newsletters

Sony's Wireless Server FSV-PGX1

You'll be tempted to tuck the FSV-PGX1 into your coat pocket as you leave the office, since it looks a lot like a PDA or Pocket PC, but if you do, you may well stuff up your boss' plans for an evening of high level meetings with the lawyers. That's because the FSV-PGX1 is, in fact, a wireless handheld file server from Sony -- not an electronic diary at all. Stick it in the middle of a meeting table, have everyone sit around it with their laptops, and the FSV-PGX1 will act as a file distributor -- kind of like a blackjack dealer -- tossing out the files to anyone who needs to take a peek. There's a 20-GB internal hard disk for storage, and it uses the IEEE 802.11b (Wi-Fi) standard for file transfer at speeds of up to 11 Mbps. Shunning your regular Windows OS flavors, the PGX1 runs on the Linux 2.4.20 operating system but can, of course, route any file system from any computer OS. There's a back-up battery, effectively providing UPS capability if the power goes down via the AC adapter, and a neat little cradle with built-in Ethernet for sale separately. Open price, but approximately JPY70,000. To be released in Japan on March 29.

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Olympus u-20 DIGITAL

The u-20 is the latest little creation out of the Olympus camera labs and is touted as the "world's first metal-bodied waterproof digital camera in the u (pronounced myu) series." Can't argue with that, I guess. According to Olympus, the camera is waterproof to the extent that you can use it outside in the pouring rain without it going up in smoke.

A 4-megapixel still digicam capable of producing shots of a maximum resolution of 2,272 x 1,704, the u-20 is an update of the u-10 and is easily distinguishable thanks to the change in lens cover -- from a rather bright blue to a more understated silver. Otherwise, the new camera has almost identical tech specs to its predecessor, including the 3x optical zoom lens, a 1.5-inch TFT LCD viewfinder, macro-function from 20 cm and 16 seconds of 320 x 240 movies at 15 frames per second. The camera records images to the new-format xD Picture Cards. Priced at JPY63,000. To be released in Japan by the end April.

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Matsushita's DVD Recorder "DIGA" series

Matsushita announces a whole bunch of new DVD recorders, and the entire Western world is left reeling in shock and disbelief. Not really, but it sounds more dramatic that way. But the company has managed a simultaneous worldwide release for two of the five models -- the DMR-E50 and DMR-E60 -- which isn't as regular a feat as we might think or like. In their fourth incarnations, the two machines record on both DVD-RAM and DVD-R, so you don't have to make that ridiculous and horribly risky choice of which format to buy and support. Both feature that clever "Time Shift" function, progressive scan and instant editing facilities. They'll also both cope with most any disc you find lying around the house: DVD, regular CDs, CD-R, CD-RW2 and discs with MP3s on them.

The nickname "Diga," formed from "DVD" and "Giga," is meant to imply that the players are, in fact, enormous, with the gigantic storage capability of the hard disk. This has more relevance in the Japan market, where the heavy hitter of the new five-machine range, the DMR-E90H, houses a 120-GB hard disk. In any case, the recorders do all the clever stuff you've come to associate with digital devices, making your old VCRs look very much like last millennium's news -- particularly since both recorders will allow users to transfer their old magnetic tape recordings onto their hard disks or, even more sensibly, straight across onto DVD disc, so you have nice, almost-future-proof hard copies to stick in an archive somewhere. The E60 model will even allow the display of digital still images, thanks to the integral SD/PC card slot. Open price, but from approximately JPY90,000.

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am3 Adapter for GBA SP

In anticipation of Nintendo's addition to its Game Boy franchise GBA SP (the SP bit stands for "Same as Previous" ....), am3 has produced an "am3 Smart Media" memory card for use in the new, only very slightly improved Game Boy Advance. Owners of the new GBA SP will need to slot the am3 Smart Media card into the am3 adapter, and that in turn is slotted into the Game Boy Advance for playback of movie and sound files. The actual content will depend on how trials of the unit go, reckons am3, but could range from simple tunes right up to full-blown, 30 frames-per-second video. Blank smart media cards are expected to sell for about JPY2,000, cards with cool stuff already recorded on them about JPY2,300, and just the contents themselves -- downloaded from places such as your local convenience store -- from about JPY200 a pop.

Sharp LCD panel LL-T19D1-H

The LL-T19D1-H is -- there's a clue in the name if you look hard enough -- a 19-inch LCD display panel with a super high contrast ratio of 700:1 from Sharp. Producing an SXGA (that's 1,280 x 1,024 dots, fact fans!) display, the unit is only 22.5 mm thick and can swivel through 25 degrees. Hmm, that doesn't seem like very much. Still, the panel is also viewable through 170 degrees in both planes and has a maximum brightness of 300 cd/m2. And there are RGB, digital and PC connections round the back for a choice of image sources. Open price, but approximately JPY93,000 yen.

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