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

Issue No. 141

Friday, April 23, 2004
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Olympus AZ-1
Category: Digital camera
Price: Open (but approx. 50,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end May 2004

The Gist: The AZ-1 is one of those tiny, ultra-thin compact digital
cameras, but this one boasts a relatively massive 2.5-inch LCD
viewfinder/screen. It has a 3,240,000-pixel CCD, snapping JPEG
images up to a max resolution of 2,048x1,536 and M-PEG movies of a
Chaplin-esque 15 frames per second of 320x240 dots, plus a 3-times
optical zoom on the lens with 35mm equivalent focal range of 38-114mm.
Images go down to an x-D Picture Card and, size-wise, the AZ-1 clocks
in at 94x21.9x67mm and 160g.

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Name: Vertex Link iAUDIO M3
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open (but approx. 43,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: April 23, 2004

The Gist: Is this "Hard Disk Audio Player" a serious iPod rival, do
you think? Just possibly. The machine will play back MP3, WMA, Ogg
Vorbis, ASF and WAV files, and comes housed in a smart aluminum casing
weighing just 136g. The Korean made player has a 20GB hard disk but
lacks any kind of LCD display on the main unit itself. However,
there is a separate remote control unit with dimensions of
58.6x33.2x14.4mm that has a 6-line 128x98-dot LCD display. It has a
frequency response range of 20Hz to 20kHz and a signal-to-noise ratio
of 95 decibels.

But will it (can it) rival Apple's mighty iPod? Well, it should. It
can record in MP3 format, for starters, which the iPod simply doesn't
allow. It has a built-in FM tuner; something iPod also lacks. And the
battery charge will last for 14 hours, as opposed to iPods mere eight.
And it's slightly smaller, lighter and cheaper. Could be a winner
with the less fashion-victim inclined gadget fans.

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Name: Matsushita TY-RM200
Category: AV accessory
Price: 6,195 yen
Release date in Japan: June 15, 2004

The Gist: The TY-RM200 is a dedicated remote control for Matsushita's
own range of digital-broadcast-capable television sets. The "One design
fits all" design ethos takes a dual-sided approach, putting a set of
analog channel buttons on the right side of the remote and a set of
digital channel buttons on the left. A toggle switch would obviously
be far too confusing for your average digital-TV owner, I guess.
The power, channel hop, volume, subtitle, AV input and language-switch
buttons are located bang in the middle of the unit. But not in that

The buttons on the TY-RM200 are huge, so all the moaners who bang
on about modern gadgets being too fiddly for their freakishly oversized
paws will be happy, and the remote will work from up 7m away.

More info:

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The APRIL issue of JI magazine boasts a makeover, award-winning
journalism -- and, for the first time, FREE online access!**

Check it out NOW:

(**For a limited time; thereafter all archived contents will be

>> ANIME ATTACKS: Disney's divorce from digital animator Pixar
and the Michael Eisner debacle comes at an ideal time for Japan's
animation titans. Leo Lewis speaks to the president of TOEI, whose
forthcoming assault on the US and Europe speaks volumes.

>> Honda president TAKEO FUKUI tells us precisely what it means to be
named Nikkei's No. 1 company of the year. A JI exclusive interview!

>> TRUE LIES: A new book about the M-fund, a secret cache of cash
worth billions and overseen by the US and Japan, is stirring up
controversy and ... death-threats. David McNeill explains -- and we
speak to the authors, who are currently in hiding.

PLUS: Alejandro Lopez of Beacon Communications on how to reinvigorate
advertising in Japan's reviving brand market; a visit to Tokyo's oldest
slums; our expert analyses for investors looking to navigate Japan's
resurging booms; the very latest from the frontlines of technological
wizardry, consumer surveys and much, much more.
Subscribers: 5,535 as of April 23, 2004

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

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