The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 230
Friday March 17, 2006

1. Sharp Zaurus SL-C3200
2. Digital Cowboy DCT-DPM1
3. Front Future Fingerprint Verification MINI keyboard F-1

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Name: Sharp Zaurus SL-C3200
Category: PDA
Price: Open Price; estimated around 75,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: PDAs have taken a back seat to smartphones and
mobile phones with PDA-style functionality, but Sharp has
continued to support their Zaurus line throughout the years.
The latest is the "Zaurus SL-C3200," a successor to the "SL-C3100."

If you were expecting Sharp to give up on the Zaurus series,
think again. The C3200 weighs in with a 6GB hard drive,
a 50% improvement versus the 4GB capacity of the C3100.
Part of this capacity is devoted to a new range of English-learning
features. "Genius 14 Day Concentration Course TOIEC Test
470 Points/600 Points/730 Points" prepares non-native speakers
for the Test of English for International Communication. There's
also a new Text to Speech function for reading English
documents aloud, "NOVA CITY" English communication
lessons from Nova, and "TOEIC TEST Dash 470/650/730."

Canopus has also offered new video conversion software for
the Zaurus called "Easy Mr. Converter for ZAURUS." It can
accept MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX, and other
AVI files and convert them to the video format of the Zaurus.

Otherwise, the specifications of the unit remain largely the same
as on the C3100. It still has the nice 3.7" 640 x 480 LCD,
416MHz CPU, 64MB of RAM and 128MB of ROM,
a QWERTY-style keyboard, SD card slot, CF card slot,
USB, and an infrared port. If there's anything the Zaurus is
missing, it's integrated wireless LAN functionality. However,
you do get a CF card slot, so you could easily find a compatible
802.11b/g adapter and get online. Alternatively, you can spring
for a PHS card and have wireless internet access via a cellular
connection. Your choice. You should see a battery life of about
7 hours from the new Zaurus.

More info:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Digital Cowboy DCT-DPM1
Category: Mouse
Price: Open Price; estimated around 3,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Late March 2006

The Gist: Are you such an elite computer user that you find
yourself restrained only by your input device? Apparently,
someone over at Digital Cowboy thinks you are; the company
has introduced a new mouse that allows for "Dual Pointers."

As far as we could tell, there aren't many uses for having two
pointers on the same computer. In fact, Digital Cowboy could
really only come up with one: you have two displays and
want to have a unique pointer for each environment.
No version of Windows comes with support for having two
simultaneous pointers, so you'll need to install the driver
for the mouse. A button on the left side of the mouse allows
you to change between the two pointers.

The DCT-DPM1 uses USB and has a resolution of 800 dots
per inch. Expect this one before the end of this month for
about three Hideyos.

More info:

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Front Future Fingerprint Verification MINI keyboard F-1
Category: Keyboard
Price: Open Price; estimated around 39,800 yen
Release date in Japan: June 2006

The Gist: A Japanese company called "Front Future" is all set
to release their new security-centric keyboard named the
"Fingerprint Verification MINI keyboard F-1." 39,800 yen is
certainly expensive for a keyboard, but when it comes to
security, there's no cutting corners. At least there isn't
supposed to be.

Many keyboards have integrated fingerprint sensors, but these
all suffer from a fatal flaw: the computer still does the processing
of your fingerprint. If someone decides they want to attach some
kind of keylogger device between the keyboard and your
computer, they could also access your fingerprint. This is
a bad situation.

The MINI keyboard, F-1, however, conducts all operations
inside the keyboard itself. The keyboard stores the fingerprint
records, it processes the image, and it compares the image
against the original. The computer stores none of the information
associated with the fingerprint process, so in theory, someone
would have to steal the computer and the keyboard to really
create a security risk at your company.

Integrated functions of the F-1 include Windows login and
screen saver lock. Ten different fingerprints can be stored,
and the interface is USB. It has a JPN 89-key arrangement.

More info:

SUBSCRIBERS: 8,664 as of March 17, 2006

Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

(C) Copyright 2006 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.