J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 184
Friday March 18, 2005

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Name: Bandai PLUG BEAT
Category: "Music Session Figure"
Price: 3,675 yen - 4,200 yen
Release date in Japan: Early April 2005

The Gist: Remember those dancing flower toys from a while
back? Bandai seems to be trying to revitalize this product
genre with the introduction of the "PLUG BEAT" dancing
figurines. Three different figures will be available: a
guitar, a bass (guitar), and a drum set. But two variations
of each figure will also be available; one variation features
four pre-loaded well-known Western tunes such as "Born to Be
Wild" and "My Sharona" (ok, maybe not a classic, but well
known), and the other variation with golden age J-Rock from
artists such as Unicorn and Princess Princess. The songs are
played from an onboard speaker inside each figure.

The figures themselves will "dance" in accordance with songs
they play, but they can also dance from external audio sources
(by connecting them to a CD player, for example). But
the real fun behind the PLUG BEAT series lies in a special
cable that connects different PLUG BEAT figures to one another.
This cable will allow each PLUG BEAT figure to access songs
from the other PLUG BEAT(s) to which it is connected. For
example, if two PLUG BEATs are connected to one another, each
PLUG BEAT is capable of playing the same eight tracks. Up to
10 figures can be connected in this fashion, so you could
potentially have your very own 10-member rock group sitting
on your desk. Not that you would want to.

More info:
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Name: Sony Network Walkman NW-E507/505
Category: Portable audio
Price: 25,000 yen for 1GB, 20,000 yen for 512MB
Release date in Japan: April 21st, 2005

The Gist: Sony has introduced two sleek-looking flash audio
players, the 1GB "NW-E507" and 512MB "NW-E505." Varying only
in capacity, the E500 series offers a slim body shape and three-
line organic EL display beautifully merged onto a player not
much larger than USB keychain memory devices.

The players support the playback of ATRAC3plus and MP3 files,
with MP3 support ranging from 32 to 320kbps. As with all Sony
players that "support" MP3, however, you will need to use
their frequently attacked SonicStage software. It is also
equipped with an FM tuner in the event that 512MB or 1GB is
not enough music for you.

In a somewhat interesting move for the company, the E500
series also features a "Lap Time" function providing both clock
and stopwatch functionality, and even a calendar function.
Furthermore, the E500 series can be charged via USB; but this
is where we get to see Sony's true strength come through. The
player sports a whopping 50 hours of playback time. But there's
more -- it supports an ultra-rapid recharge feature to be able
to play audio for three hours when charged for a mere 3 minutes.
It will reach 80% recharge in 45 minutes and full recharge at
2 hours. Now if only Apple could figure out what Sony's trick
to battery life is...

More info:
Name: Sony DSC-T7
Category: Digital camera
Price: 55,000 yen
Release date in Japan: April 15th, 2004

The Gist: It seems a tad odd to talk about two Sony
products in the same week, but I feel as though they both
deserved recognition. From one of Sony's many other
consumer electronics divisions comes the "Cybershot
DSC-T7," the newest iteration of the successful T series.
At only 9.8mm thick (about 0.38 inches), the T7 just may
be thin enough to fit in your wallet...but I certainly
don't recommend doing so. Versus the Cybershot T1, the
first camera in the T series, the T7 has 57% the volume,
70% the mass, and 57% the thickness at the thinnest part.
In fact, the T7 is even thinner than Casio's renowned
Exilim S100 (at 14.8mm thick). All right, you get the point,
it's thin.

What the T7 lacks in thickness it makes up for in style and
functionality. Sony somehow managed to stick a 3x optical
zoom lens on the T7, as well as a 5.1MP Super HAD CCD. This
CCD allows for pictures up to 2592 x 1944 in size, and nine
such pictures at this resolution can be recorded in consecutive
photo mode. If that doesn't float your boat, the T7 can take
100 pictures at 640 x 480 in this same mode. Alternatively,
if you'd like to just break down and record a video, you're
fine there too; it can record 640 x 480 video at up to 30
frames per second. Of course, what good is taking pictures if
your camera is not ready for them? The T7 can go from "off"
to "picture taken" in about 2.24 seconds.

Instead of an optical viewfinder, you will notice a 2.5" LCD
on the back of the T7. It can display up to 15 thumbnail images
at a time.

Included with the T7 is an adapter to connect USB and AV cables
(neither of which is included, unfortunately), "photo stand"
with tripod legs and charger.

More info:
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Theta Music Technologies, a leading provider of music-
related software and technology, is currently accepting
applications for the following position:

Title: Software Developer
Status: Full-time
Location: Tokyo
Requirements: BS in Computer Science or equivalent;
strong Java and object-oriented software design skills;
fluent English ability
Other desired skills:
- C/C++
- Mobile development (J2ME, BREW)
- Interest in music
- Japanese language skill

Salary and remuneration are commensurate with experience.
To arrange for an interview, please contact Steve Myers
SUBSCRIBERS: 7,441 as of March 18, 2005
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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