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

Issue No. 241
Friday June 23, 2006

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


Name: PQI Japan Card Drive U510
Category: USB memory
Price: 1GB: 8,500 yen; 2GB: 17,000 yen; 4GB: 30,000 yen; 8GB: 58,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: PQI Japan's latest "Card Drive U510" series of USB memory devices
focuses on reducing the thickness of the body to the point that it can fit in your
wallet. They seem to have done a nice job; the U510s are a mere 3mm thick.
It is 85mm across and 54mm high. Stack a few standard business cards on
top of each other, and what you'll get should be roughly the same size as one
of the Card Drive U510. PQI managed to reduce the thickness to 3mm by
equipping the U510s with a retractable cable and their "Intelligent Stick"
USB-compatible interface, which they also own the patent to.

Available in capacities ranging from 1GB to 8GB, the U510 series is compatible
with all modern flavors of Windows and Mac OS. "USB Notebook Professional"
also comes preinstalled on the cards, which allows Windows users to
synchronize Outlook Express mails, browser favorites, and documents inside
the My Documents folder.

If you're interested in the higher capacity models, you may want to
hold off -- PQI Japan plans on releasing a 16GB version this fall.

More info:
Name: Pioneer X-MF7DV
Category: Minicomponent system
Price: Open Price; estimated around 50,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Early July 2006

The Gist: Pioneer has a feature-packed new minicomponent system due out next
month, called the "X-MF7DV." In addition to all of the standard capabilities you
would expect from a minicomponent system these days, it is compatible with a
wide range of file formats and media types.

Besides plain old DVD-Video and DVD-R/RW, the MF7DV can handle DVD-R DL
discs and DVD-R/RW discs that are recorded in VR mode. There is also CD playback,
an AM/FM radio, and a MiniDisc recorder/player. Since it can also handle DivX,
MP3, WMA, AAC, and JPEG files stored on DVD-R/RW or CD-R/RW discs, you
shouldn't have a hard time finding something you can play on the unit. The
"Multi Playlist" function should help you here -- you can store up to 3 different
playlists (up to 30 songs each) for as many as 10 different discs.

There is also a USB port on the front of the unit, and it supports playing MP3,
WMA, and AAC files from USB devices (such as the PQI Japan U510 we just
mentioned above). If you don't have a USB device handy, there is also a "F.AUDIO
IN" jack, which seems to just be a fancy name for a stereo mini input for connecting
your portable audio player.

The amplifier has an output of 25W per channel, and the DSP features "Rock,"
"Hall," and "Drama" sound modes. The weight of the entire setup, including the
speakers, is around 10kg.

More info:
Name: iRiver Japan E10
Category: Portable audio/video
Price: 25,980 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Things don't seem to be slowing down any time soon over at iRiver --
perfect evidence in the new "E10" that features MPEG-4 playback.

The 6GB E10 will be available in both black and white body colors, but the
latter only from iRiver's online store. It has a 1.5" LCD at 128 x 128 dots and
260,000 colors, so be ready to squint when you try and watch MPEG-4 SP
movies (at 15fps and 384kbps) on it. To get your way around the device's menus,
you'll use its four navigation buttons. There is also a "Smart Key" that can be
assigned to summon forth a frequently used function, such as displaying the
main menu, playing, or recording.

Thankfully, iRiver seems to realize the E10 is a bit more suited for music; it
supports the playback of MP3, WMA, and OGG files. MP3 support ranges from
8 to 320kbps, and OGG from Q1 to Q10. There is also SRS WOW, and a
customizable equalizer with 10 presets. You may also find a use for the internal
voice recorder and FM radio. Also, if you find yourself extremely bored, perhaps
waiting for Nakata to score a goal for Japan, bust out the E10 -- it supports
Macromedia Flash Lite 2.0 for simple games.

The battery life is nothing to sneeze at: 6 hours for video and 32 hours for
MP3 audio.

More info:
SUBSCRIBERS: 8,615 as of June 23, 2006

Written by: Liam McNulty
Edited by: Burritt Sabin (

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