J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Issue No. 236
Friday April 28, 2006

(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Panasonic LF-MB121JD
Category: PC peripheral
Price: Open Price; estimated around 100,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 10, 2006

The Gist: Panasonic is all geared up to launch their first Blu-ray burner for PCs,
the LF-MB121JD. It should end up costing something close to 100,000 yen, so
this one truly is only for those who need to stay on the bleeding edge.

The MB121JD supports writing and reading to three generations of optical disc:
Blu-ray, DVD, and CD. Blu-ray discs can be written at 2x, or about 9MB per
second. The drive can write to single layer (25GB) and dual layer discs (50GB),
be they the write-once "BD-R" or the rewritable "BD-RE."

Panasonic also plans on launching a series of blank Blu-ray discs that you can
of course use in the drive. The cheapest is the single layer "LM-BR25D" BD-R
at 1,800 yen, and the most expensive is the dual layer "LM-BE50D" BD-RE at
6,000 yen.

Since Blu-ray software is still somewhat difficult to find, the drive includes
"PowerBackup 2" and "Power2Go 5," both of which support Blu-ray. Also, the
drivers of the MB121JD allow it to be used through the standard Windows Explorer
interface -- you can write to discs by simply dragging and dropping files to them.

Interestingly enough, the drive does not include any software for actually playing
BD-ROM discs (the Blu-ray movies you keep on hearing about). Of course, the
hardware itself supports BD-ROM, so when Panasonic decides they want to issue
a software update, you'll be ready. It also uses "HDCP" copyright protection
technology, so if you want to use a digital video output for watching movies,
you'll need a display that supports this technology.

More info:
Name: Toshiba gigabeat P5S, P10S
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open Price; P5S estimated around 13,980 yen, P10S estimated
around 17,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Late May 2006

The Gist: Toshiba is introducing some new models into the flash memory versions
of their "gigabeat" line of portable audio players. The 512MB "P5S" will be available
in Black Contrast, White Contrast, and Red Cross color variations, and the 1GB
"P10S" will be available in Black Contrast and White Contrast.

As successors to the "P5" and "P10," the new players offer manual scanning for
the FM tuner, an analog clock display, and an auto power-off function. Otherwise
they remain the same, such as the organic EL display, JPEG viewer, and "+"-shaped
control interface. They also retain the 14 hours of continuous playback time.

Like other gigabeat players, these support MP3, WMA, and WAV playback, and
use Windows Media Player for transferring audio.

More info:
Name: Sony D-VE7000S
Category: Portable DVD
Price: Open Price; estimated around 35,000 yen
Release date in Japan: June 1, 2006

The Gist: Sony's new "D-VE7000S" DVD Walkman is sure to turn a few heads.
At 27.9mm thick and 775g, its form factor isn't one of a standard portable DVD
player. Instead of folding open like a laptop (as most portable DVD players do),
the VE7000S is meant to be held like a tablet PC.

As a result, the VE7000S has no internal speakers. If you want sound out of the
device (and don't want to use headphones or external speakers), you'll need to
place it in the included speaker stand. This same stand is used to recharge the

The display of the VE7000S is a 7" widescreen LCD that has a resolution of
480 x 234 dots. DVD+-R/RW, DVD+R/RW DL, and CD-R/RW discs are supported,
as is the playing of MPEG and JPEG files from these discs. There's an internal
Dolby Digital/DTS decoder, which should come in handy with the device's optical
digital audio output. Expect about 3 hours of battery life.

More info:
Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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