J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Issue No. 117

Thursday, October 2, 2003
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============================= EVENT ==================================
Date: Nov. 19-21, 2003
Location: Le Meridien Grand Pacific (Odaiba, Tokyo)

Business today is all about reducing time, increasing speed, and
improving profits. Technology is the enabler.
Keeping up - and looking ahead - is your challenge and our strength.
Join over 2500 senior IT decision makers to hear Gartner's leading
global and Japanese analyst address technology issues that will
have the biggest impact on your enterprise over the next year.

View complete Symposium information at:

Name: Matsushita TH-21DR1
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx. 120,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: October 20, 2003

The Gist: It's a 21-inch TV with a built-in DVD RAM/R recorder, and I
want one right now! The "DVD 2-shot" is a regular 4:3-ratio CRT
television with super slim tube and double analog TV tuners, so you
can record one program and be watching another channel entirely at the
same time. Brilliant. On the DVD recording side, the machine can
handle recording to both DVD-R and DVD-RAM formats, and it'll do all
the usual digital TV tricks, such as time-slip recording (simultaneous
recording and playback), Time Warp (whatever that is -- something to
do with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I think) and 1.3-times voice
playback. There are 4 recording modes (XP,SP, LP and EP) allowing one,
two, four and six hours of recording, respectively. Naturally, the
TH-21DR1 will also play back just about any flavor of disc you throw
at it, including those tricky CD-R/RW ones. Oh, and just to cap it all
off, there's an FM tuner in the thing, too.

More info:

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Name: Pentax Optio S4
Category: Digital camera
Price: Open (but approx. 50,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end October 2003

The Gist: All right, all right, it may be another 4-megapixel digicam,
BUT it's incredibly slim and stylish. That must count for something!
Measuring 83x20x52mm and weighing 98g, this is exactly the same
dimensions as the lesser Option S from the same company and, writing
this, it strikes me that the figure 98g seems to be cropping up a lot
these days.

Applying extensive and thorough journalistic methodology, for which we
gadget hacks are renowned the world over -- by which I mean I tapped a
few words into Google and hit the "enter" button -- I have discovered
that this weight, namely 98g, is very popular in the consumer
electronics industry. If it went in for boxing on TV, 98g would be a
heavyweight contender. This is exactly the same weight as Panasonic's
SV-AV10 and any number of mobile phones and, if I remember my biology
classes in high school correctly, exactly 98 times the weight of an
average fingernail. Also, in numerology, if you like that sort of
thing, the numbers eight and nine add up to 17, which add up to eight,
and eight as an "expression number" apparently means that "it is both
your challenge and your birthright to gain dominion over a small part
of the earth." It also signifies "material success or failure." An
accident? I think not. Also, if it were a 98g chain made of 14 karat
gold, it'd cost you well over 2,000 bucks. But the Pentax Optio S4 is
only going to cost you a quarter of that -- bargain!

But enough of that -- technophiles will be delighted to hear that the
spanky new S4 has a 3-times optical zoom lens, a 4.23-million-pixel
CCD (the old model only had a 3.2-million-pixel one) allowing max
images of 2,304x1,728 pixels, 15 frame-per-second movie clips
(improved from 12fps) at 320x240 dots, one-touch image reviewing and
more focus, white balance and other options than you can shake a stick
at. The camera lays images down either to the integral 11MB of Flash
RAM or to an SD or MM card. And it's very slim and lovely looking. Did
I say that already?

More info:

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Name: Samsung SyncMaster172X
Category: AV
Price: 61,800 yen
Release date in Japan: mid-October 2003

The Gist: The SyncMaster172X from Samsung is a 17-inch LCD display
vaunting an unusual "World's xxx-est" claim ("vaunting," for those not
familiar with the word, has absolutely nothing to do with that
torturous exercise we all had to do in gym class). Anyhoo, the claim
is that the SyncMaster172X has the Thinnest Bezel In The World! And,
at 10.8mm, they're not joking. The girth-challenged LCD screen in
question still manages to squeeze out a 1,280x1,024-dot (SXGA) image
in any number of the 16 million possible colors, has a contrast ratio
of 500:1, brightness of 270 candelas and a super quick 16ms response
time. The image is viewable in an up-down plane spanning 140 degrees
and a left-right one through 160 degrees. Even though it's so thin you
might just miss it, the screen is housed in a classic silver casing
and weighs only 3.75kg. If you put it on its side, you won't be able
to actually see it.

More info:

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Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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