The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 195
Thursday June 23, 2005

1. Casio XD-LP8000
2. Focal iGuy
3. Green House GH-SPA-214K

Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - July 5th Seminar

This coming July, EA-Tokyo is lucky to have well-known
entrepreneur, Fujiyo Ishiguro, President and CEO of Netyear
Group Corporation. For more information please visit the
EA-Tokyo website listed below.

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 5th 7:00 pm
Location: City Club of Tokyo - Maple Room (Canadian Embassy Complex)
Language: English

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Casio XD-LP8000

Category: Electronic dictionary
Price: 54,600 yen
Release date in Japan: July 23, 2005

The Gist: Between Japan and the rest of the world, there
exist two enormous gaps: academic and technological. Or
at least these are the two we'll be addressing today.

J@pan Inc. readers are well aware of the study habits of
Japanese students -- long nights studying for the ominous
entrance exams, countless yen spent towards "juku," or
cram school, and perhaps even more hours spent studying
one of the world's most difficult languages: English.
Perhaps even more evident to J@pan Inc. readers, particularly
readers of Gadget Watch, is the technological gap between
Japan and the rest of the world. I needn't address this, since
if you're reading this newsletter, there's a good chance you're
already aware of it.

So what would be the best representation of these two gaps?
Simple: electronic dictionaries. The technology that lies
inside the latest dictionaries is astounding; there are literally
multiple volumes of all sorts of dictionaries, encyclopedias,
and other reference works stored inside a space not much
bigger than a wallet. Perhaps even more astounding is the
market for these devices. It's difficult to imagine a mother
purchasing a $500 electronic dictionary for her son or daughter
studying Spanish in the USA, but in Japan, an electronic
dictionary represents a rite of passage to high school for many
kids. Given all the hours they're nearly guaranteed to spend
tapping out words such as "pandemonium" and "hexaemeron,"
it only makes sense they (or their parents) will be more than
willing to slap the Fukuzawas on the counter when the time

This long-winded explanation of the current state of the Japanese
electronic dictionary market brings us to the first product in this
week's Gadget Watch: the Casio XD-LP8000.

The LP8000 offers "TRUE VOICE" audio compression technology
bringing native-speaker recorded audio to all example sentences
contained in the device's English, German, French, Spanish,
Italian, Korean, and Chinese dictionaries. As though that were
not enough, about 14,000 words of essential English vocabulary
were also recorded. The reading speed of the words, example
sentences, and text can be set to three different levels.

In total, the LP8000 features 50 dictionaries: 13 dictionaries for
conversation in the languages, 6 dictionaries for English, 7 for
Japanese, 9 for living/practical, 13 for business/information, and
2 for studying.

As a nice bonus, the LP8000 can connect with a PC via USB
allowing for up to 5MB of text to be stored. This USB connection
is also used to add dictionaries to the device.

On the LP8000, you'll also find a 5" 480 x 320 dot FSTN LCD,
which Casio has stated is the largest in the industry for an
electronic dictionary.

More info:

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Please contact or Karl Hahne on
(03) 5469-2849 for more information.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Focal iGuy

Category: iPod case
Price: 5,480 yen
Release date in Japan: Late June 2005

The Gist: When Gumby died in the early 90s, so did a piece of
my childhood. No longer was I able to see the stretchy green
goodness greet me with that bubbly voice.

Focal Point Computer Corporation has restored some of that glory
by introducing the "iGuy," which essentially boils down to Gumby
turned iPod case. Yes, he of course turned white to match the
iPod itself, but with fully bendable limbs, you simply can't ignore
that figure awaiting you (or your iPod) when you come home at
night. Or why wait? Just take the iGuy with you when you leave.
Imagine the stares you'll get!

Being made of rubber, the iGuy of course will protect your iPod
from all sorts of nasties like shock and dust. But he also features
a plastic screen protector, making sure your precious display
doesn't get cracked. The iGuy can also be bent so that your iPod
can still be placed in its dock while he's "taking care" of it.

One potential downer of this version of the iGuy is his size -- he
currently supports only 4G and iPod color version iPods. Given the
popularity of the iPod mini in Japan, it would behoove Focal to
produce a different, smaller version of the iGuy.

More info:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: AVC Technology Japan SN-M700

Category: Portable audio
Price: Unknown
Release date in Japan: September 2005

The Gist: With MP3 players being announced what seems like
every five minutes, consumers have already grown tired of
"standard" features such as voice recording and integrated FM
tuners. No, in order to get press these days, an MP3 player
needs to have something wacky or unexpected...or both.

Fortunately for us, the SN-M700 from AVC Technology Japan is
one such MP3 player, at least as far as "unexpected" is concerned.
At about 70% the size of a standard "bar" mobile phone, the M700
has a capacity of up to 2GB.

There's plenty more on the M700, though. The first thing you'll notice
is its 160 x 128 screen capable of displaying 260,000 colors. This
screen doesn't go to waste, either -- AVC somehow managed to jam
MPEG-4 video playback on the device, and it supports video up to
15 frames per second.

You'll find your standard run of supported audio formats (MP3, WMA,
OGG, ASF, WAV, WMA with DRM), an FM tuner, voice recording,
and line-in, but the SD memory card expansion slot is a nice touch for
those with larger music (or video, in this player's case) collections.
An unexpected feature is the remote controller functionality, which
frankly, more MP3 players should have. AVC said the remote supports
the products of 15 domestic makers, so you should be good to go if
you "keep it in the country" and buy Japanese.

Putting files on the device is no sweat either, as it offers USB 2.0
support through the USB Storage class. It even has a slide-style
connector, so there is no need to search for a cable. You'll get about
20 hours of playback on its internal lithium-ion battery.

Don't expect to see the M700 until September.

More info:

SUBSCRIBERS: 7,907 as of June 23, 2005

Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.