The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No.205
Thursday September 8, 2005

1. Casio DV-900W
2. iRiver Japan U10 Bae Yong Joon Special Edition
3. NTT DoCoMo/Sony Ericsson RADIDEN

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Name: Casio DV-900W

Category: Bathtub A/V
Price: Open Price; estimated around 60,000 yen
Release date in Japan: September 29, 2005

The Gist: More fun in the tub this week comes from Casio, who has
introduced their "DV-900W" water-resistant DVD player with
integrated 9" LCD screen.

The player and its included remote controller are rated for JIS IPX7 level
water-resistance (yes, they have standards for this sort of thing in Japan);
you can actually submerge the devices for as long as 30 minutes in
1 meter of water, and they'll be fine. That probably takes us from
"water-resistant" to "waterproof" in English terms, but we'll just play it safe.

The 9" screen offers a resolution of 480 x 234 dots, and the unit is
equipped with two 1W speakers.

Casio didn't skimp on the features with this one. It not only offers an
integrated TV tuner in case you get bored with your DVDs, but it features
DVD+-R/RW compatibility for playing discs you've burned on your own,
MP3/WMA playback, and even JPEG viewing. It also has an integrated
Dolby Digital decoder and can downmix 5.1ch signals for 2ch use. It also
for some reason has S-Video output and an optical digital output. Although
these don't make a whole lot of sense considering most receivers and
televisions aren't also waterproof, I guess they could come in handy if you
want this unit to replace your standard DVD player.

Expect a battery life of about 3 hours and 15 minutes for TV and 2 hours
for DVD from the DV-900W. Recharging should take roughly 5 hours.

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: iRiver Japan U10 Bae Yong Joon Special Edition

Category: Portable A/V
Price: 29,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-October 2005

The Gist: In issue 197 of Gadget Watch, we took a look at iRiver Japan's
"U10" portable audio/video device. It too has been unable to escape
the grip of what must be National Special Edition Gadget Season in
Japan -- iRiver Japan has announced a Bae Yong Joon version of
the U10.

If you haven't heard of Bae Yong Joon, you probably haven't been keeping
up with your Japanese pop culture news. Known to Japan as simply
"Yon-sama," Bae Yong Joon is easily the country's most popular celebrity.
If you weren't able to tell from the name alone, Bae Yong Joon is, in fact,
Korean. Many would consider him solely responsible for the influx of Korean
dramas Japan has been seeing recently. Maybe Japan finally realized how
terrible their drama actors and actresses really are? Err, maybe not.

Mr. Joon enjoys (and probably suffers from) a level of popularity that is
almost beyond comparison. "Fuyu no Sonata," his first drama series to hit
Japan, has sold about 35 times as many copies versus what is considered
"successful" for Japanese drama series on DVD. When he shows his face
in Japan, around 5,000 people (mostly women) turn up to greet him at
the airport. Reportedly, several hundred women follow him right back to
Korea just for an opportunity to catch another glimpse of the one and
only "Yon-sama."

When you combine someone as popular as Yon-sama with just about...
anything, the "anything" is guaranteed to sell out. Especially when you
load it with original images and pre-recorded voice tracks of Yon-sama
saying "good afternoon." As if that weren't enough, he'll also say
"good morning" when using the U10's alarm clock feature -- which is
only available if youpurchase the 9,980 yen cradle. My hands are
already turning to putty. Celebrity endorsements are hard to come
by in the consumer electronics industry.

All of the Joonness aside, this U10 remains the same as a standard
512MB edition U10. This works out to a 2.2" 320 x 240 LCD,
MP3/WMA/ASF/OGG audio playback, MPEG-4 video playback, and
Macromedia Flash Lite support. But something tells me people who end up
purchasing this won't even care about any of that.

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: NTT DoCoMo/Sony Ericsson RADIDEN

Category: Mobile phone
Price: Open Price; estimated around 10,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Fall 2005

The Gist: We typically don't cover mobile phones in Gadget Watch
because we wouldn't want to step on the toes of J@pan Inc's Wireless
Watch Newsletter, but this week we have no choice.

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications has unveiled the "RADIDEN,"
the world's first "radiophone." Radiophone seems like a step back
in time from "cameraphone" and "videophone," but the RADIDEN is
actually the world's first phone to feature an integrated AM/FM/TV
tuner. In fact, just the AM tuner makes this phone qualify for
a World's First title.

The word "RADIDEN" is a combination of "radio" and "denwa," meaning
phone. But you probably guessed that already. What you may not have
guessed is the alternative design approach Sony Ericsson took on
the RADIDEN. They've employed what the company calls a "Dual Front
Design" -- one side of the phone is used for calling, and the other side for
radio features. It's not just about appearances either, because each
side of the phone has its own dedicated function buttons and can
even be powered independently of the other side
(radio on, phone off, for example).

Don't get the wrong idea about the "TV" part of the tri-band tuner. Such
a feature is rare outside of Japan (probably due to varying frequencies),
but the TV tuner is made to pick up audio signals only. Instead of actually
watching the weather report in the morning, you would tune in to the TV
station on your RADIDEN and listen to the broadcast. This might not
work for something like a Korean drama, but if it's the news or a talk
show program like "Project X," you'll probably be fine with audio alone.
The RADIDEN is capable of receiving AM and FM broadcasts as well,
but there's a bit of a catch. In order to receive FM broadcasts, you'll
need to connect either the phone's AC adapter or a pair of earphones
-- I presume this again has to do with reception of properfrequencies
(since the cable of either device would be able to act as an FM antenna).

Sony Ericsson has added a few nice bonuses to the RADIDEN, like preset
radio stations that are configured to your particular area in Japan. This saves
you from having to find all the radio stations you want, program what button
you want to use to access them, and all that jazz. Furthermore, the radio/TV
function can be used while doing mail or using i-Mode; and if a call comes
in while you're listening to the radio, the included earphone mic features
a one-touch button to switch between the two features.

More info:

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Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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