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

Issue No. 118

Thursday, October 9, 2003
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Name: Matsushita SJ-MJ57
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open (but approx. 24,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: November 7, 2003

The Gist: I guess the trend these days of making everything tiny,
multifunctional and capable of storing information means we're going
to see a whole lot more gadgets falling into the "portable audio" and
"PC peripheral" categories. Appropriately, then, we have the SJ-MJ57
from Matsushita, an MD player that would henceforth like to be known,
if it's not too much trouble, as "the MD player with speakers that
shine." And it means that quite literally. Apparently, the bizarre
claim to fame of the MJ57 is that it has the world's first (yes,
really) "sound charger" glowing speakers. Or is that shining speakers?
Incorporating the company's proprietary Sound Window flat speaker
panel technology, the stereo Sound Charger speakers glow as they chuck
out the sound -- even giving off a blue LED glow while they're being
recharged. The unit also boasts an integral digital amp and will play
for up to 63 hours on one charge of the rechargeable battery (and more
if you add a regular alkaline cell). It comes in silver, blue, red or
black casing finishes and looks a lot better than you might think.
Take a look.

More info:

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Name: NHJ v@mp VP-308
Category: Portable audio
Price: VP-308 is 19,800 yen (VP-208 is 14,800 yen)
Release date in Japan: mid October 2003

The Gist: Just what I always wanted -- another MP3 audio player with a
built-in FM tuner. Really! In fact, NHJ has announced two different
models -- the VP-208 (booo!) and the VP-308 (hurrah!). Both portable
WMA and MP3 players, the silver VP-208 has only 128MB of Ram but the
black VP-308 has 256MB. So let's just all ignore the VP-208 and hope
it goes away.

Shaped, rather unfortunately, like one of those anti-destroyer,
submarine torpedoes from the second World War, the little audio player
is compatible with Mac and Windows systems and can act as a voice
recorder as well as a radio and for playing those digital files. The
single battery will give 15 hours of playback and there are five
equalizer settings to suit the mood: normal, rock, pop, jazz and
classic. Files of almost any bit rate can be accommodated and the
entire little bomb capsule thingy weighs a sprightly 30g. Or 30
fingernails in new money.

More info:

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Name: Buffalo USB card readers
Category: PC peripherals
Price: (MCR-MINISD) 2,100 yen and (MCR-MSDUO) 2,400 yen
Release date in Japan: mid October 2003

The Gist: Buffalo has announced a couple of USB card readers for mini
SD cards and Memory Sticks. Look, it may not seem terribly exciting,
but these things are darned useful! And there'll be loads of kit to
look at soon, with Ceatec kicking off from the 7th of the month (it
should have a couple more days to run by the time this newsletter goes
out). The MCR-MINISD is the SD card version and the MCR-MSDUO is -- on
second thought, I'll let you guess. Anyhow, the pair of them are neat
little card readers that connect to your computer (Mac or Windows) via
USB and have a maximum data transfer rate of 12Mbps. These things may
not have the sex appeal of a huge LCD or plasma screen or the wow
factor of Sony's clever little robots, but they have the power to get
you out of a right old fix when you find yourself trying to tease
information out of a digital camera or Vaio and don't have the
necessary, er, orifices.

More info:

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Name: I O Data US2-8MRW
Category: PC peripherals
Price: 4,400 yen
Release date in Japan: mid October 2003

The Gist: Sticking with incredibly useful stuff, I O Data's new widget
is a dual slot, digital media adapter that can accommodate EIGHT (8)
different memory cards! Stick the US2-8MRW into your PC via USB --
it'll work with pretty much any version of Windows or Mac OS -- and it
will read (and allow you to write to) Compact Flash, Microdrive, SD
Memory Card, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Smart Media and x-D
Picture Cards! How good is that?!

It's only 57x76x18mm and 69g in weight itself and, if all that weren't
good enough right there, even the product name makes sense: USB 2.0
compatible (US2) 8 Media Reader/ Writer (8MR)!

More info:

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

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