The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 197
Thursday July 7, 2005

1. IO Data Device HDMX-SU Series
2. iRiver U10
3. Green House GH-SPA-214K

NetTokyo - Summer Charity Networking Event

The Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo will be replacing their
regular August seminar with this charity event to be held on
July 23rd from 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Hills Bar & Cafe in
Roppongi Hills. NetTokyo Summer 2005 aims to be the largest
gathering of professionals for the international community
in Japan this year. All proceeds will go to charities.
For more information please visit:
To pre-register and pre-pay please visit:
If you have any questions please contact:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: IO Data Device HDMX-SU Series

Category: Portable hard drive
Price: 20GB HDMX-SU20FN "Simple Model": 16,485 yen
20GB HDMX-SU20F "Full Model": 18,690 yen
40GB HDMX-SU40 25,515 yen
Release date in Japan: Late July 2005

The Gist: It's once again portable device week here in Gadget
Watch, and to kick things off, we first take a look at IO Data
Device's new "HDMX-SU" series of portable hard drives.

For the most part, portable hard drives are boring. It takes quite a
bit of innovation on a manufacturer's part to get their product any
attention, mostly because of the straightforward approach of the
device -- it's a hard drive. And it's portable. Right? That's why
you see portable hard drives get so little attention. The technology
has been around the block and back again.

IO Data Device got the "quite a bit of innovation" part right with
the HDMX-SU series. Available in both 20GB and 40GB capacities,
both models sport extremely compact sizes. Just to be conservative,
we'll go with the 40GB model (the 20GB model has smaller
dimensions, obviously). It measures 62 x 102 x 12.8mm. For us
Yanks, that's 2.4 x 4 x .5 inches. I believe IO Data Device is spot-on
when they call it "business card case size."

Just having a small size would not bring the device attention, so IO
Data Device went and added a multi-function button to the side
of the drive. Just pushing this button will cause the drive's folder
to open in Windows (or Mac, which the drive also supports thanks
to USB 2.0). Holding it for two seconds, however, will do the "safe
to remove hardware" action that so many of us with USB devices
are used to doing. Finally, double-clicking the button will launch an
auto-backup. It's nice to see IO Data Device has an understanding
of what consumers are looking for with a drive like this -- you
could plug the drive in, backup your data, and safely remove it again
without having to touch a keyboard or mouse.

The difference between the "Simple" and "Full" packages of the
20GB drive? With a Full package, you get IO Data's own "Encrypt
Folder" 256-bit AES encryption software, data partitioning software,
a 10cm USB cable, carrying pouch, and some stickers. I'm thinking
the carrying pouch alone would be worth the added 2,000 yen, given
how portable this drive really is.

More info:

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: iRiver U10

Category: Portable audio/video
Price: Open Price; 512MB model estimated at 24,980 yen,
1GB model at 29,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Late August 2005

The Gist: iRiver Japan introduced the "U10" this past week, a snazzy
little portable audio/video player that looks like someone ripped an
LCD off a digital camera and threw some media functionality into it.
The first thing you notice about the U10 is its size; the screen
measures only 2.2 inches, yet has a resolution of 320 x 240 dots.
In fact, the device itself is just over half an inch thick, making it easy
to ignore when needed.

Available in both 512MB and 1GB versions, the U10 is a dreamland of
A/V functionality. I was surprised to see MPEG-4 video playback (only
up to 15fps, but still acceptable) on a device of this size. iRiver Japan
also noted that they will be launching a video content service in
conjunction with this product's launch in August.

The U10 also has your standard MP3, WMA, ASF, and OGG audio
playback. If you're in the market for a flash player to show off to your
friends, this is probably the one to get.

Speaking of Flash, the U10 supports Macromedia Flash Lite 1.1. iRiver
wasn't very clear as to exactly what this will do for the device,
but in its current state, you can take advantage of Flash technologies to
play small games such as Tile Shuffle or perhaps Snake. Not exactly a
deal-breaker, but it's good to see at least some companies supporting
something *other* than the all-too-standard A/V functionality.

A second point of interest with the U10 is iRiver's newly developed
"D-Click System." If you look at the device, you'll notice a startling
shortage of operation buttons. D-Click accepts input by "pushing the
LCD itself like a switch." The menus and such of the U10 have four
arrows, pointing towards each edge of the screen. Depending on what
action you want to take, you'll push the corresponding edge of the
screen. That's a pretty terrible description, but iRiver said it is
intuitive for even those using the device their first time. We'll take
their word for it.

More info:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Green House GH-SPA-214K

Category: Portable speakers
Price: Open Price; estimated at 1,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Early July 2005

The Gist: Finally, we arrive at Green House's GH-SPA-214K speakers.
If you've ever taken your mobile phone and thought, "wow, wouldn't it
be cool if I had some speakers shaped like this," the 214K could be
the device for you.

The GH-SPA-214K are portable speakers that can fold up, like the
flip-style phones that have more or less replaced bar phones entirely.
In fact, if you didn't know any better, you would probably mistake these
speakers FOR a phone while they're closed.

Available in white, black, pink, and blue colors, the 214K pipes out a
decent 1.4W from each of its two channels. This wattage comes from
your three AAA sized batteries, which should last about 8 hours under
normal conditions.

More info:

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar

Terrie Lloyd, founder of over 12 start-up companies in Japan
will be giving an English-language seminar and Q&A on starting
up a company in Japan. This is an ideal opportunity to find
out what is involved, and to ask specific questions that are
not normally answered in business books. All materials is
For more details:

SUBSCRIBERS: 7,973 as of July 7, 2005

Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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