GW-257 -- Portable Speakers for iPod, PFU HappyHacking Keyboard, Sony Walkman S700F/S600F

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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 257
Monday October 23, 2006
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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Name: Logicool AudioStation Express Portable Speakers for iPod
Category: iPod accessory
Price: Open Price; estimated around 12,800 yen
Release date in Japan: November 2, 2006

The Gist: Logicool, known to much of the rest of the world as
"Logitech," is releasing a nice active speaker accessory for
all modern versions of the iPod. Dubbed the "AudioStation
Express Portable Speakers for iPod," the speakers are set
to be available next month for about 12,800 yen.

At the top of the speaker cabinet is a cradle with a Dock
Connector for your iPod. Using the included remote control,
you can navigate your way through your iPod's various tracks,
and you can recharge the unit at the same time. So you don't
lose the remote, there is also a storage slot on the back of
the speakers.

One particularly nice feature of the AudioStation Express is
its inclusion of a video output. If you have a newer iPod
that supports video or still image viewing, you can use
this jack to display your videos or pictures on a TV
screen. Using standard AA batteries, you should get about
10 hours of playback from the speakers. Of course, an AC
adapter is also included.

More info:,contentid=12882,crid=34
Name: PFU HappyHacking Keyboard Professional HG JAPAN
Category: Keyboard
Price: 525,000 yen
Release date in Japan: 3 months after order

The Gist: For the 10th anniversary of the "HappyHacking
Keyboard," PFU is preparing something extra special. What
could be more special than giving each individual key a
professional-grade Wajima lacquer treatment?

That explains the price of the "HG JAPAN" keyboard. Lacquer
is applied to each key no less than 10 times, using Shukin,
a mix of crimson paint and gold dust. This mixture assures
that the keys have a high surface tension, making them curved
like regular keyboard keys, and gives them a high durability.
The "JAPAN" in the product's name comes from the English noun
and verb "Japan," describing the lacquer wares themselves, or
the process of coating something with lacquer.

Since each keyboard needs to be created by hand, it will be
about 3 months from when the order is placed until you
actually receive your unit. Orders are being handled at
the company's website, at "Pen Boutique Study Room Aoyama,"
and "AssistOn."

The rest of the keyboard's frame is aluminum, enabling users
to type quickly without having to pound the keys too hard.
Other specifications of the keyboard include an integrated
two-port USB hub, 1kg weight, and eight possible heights.
Those who make a habit of expressing computer rage on their
keyboards should also enjoy how it includes replacement legs.

More info:
Name: Sony Walkman S700F/S600F
Category: Portable audio
Price: 15,000 yen ~ 29,000 yen
Release date in Japan: October 21, 2006 or November 18, 2006

The Gist: Sony has refreshed their line of "Walkman" flash-based
portable audio players. The lineup consists of the "S600F" and
the "S700F" series players. The 600F players will be available
in black, blue, and pink body colors, in 1GB (15,000 yen) or
2GB (20,000 yen) capacities. They will be available on November
18th. When you move up to the 700F, you have black, violet,
gold, and pink colors available, in 1GB (18,000 yen), 2GB
(23,000 yen), and 4GB (29,000 yen) capacities. They're
set to be available on October 21st.

The primary difference between the 600F and the 700F is the
latter's inclusion of an FM tuner and integrated noise
cancellation functionality. Sony has declared the goal
with these players was to create "the Walkman with the
highest audio quality ever."

To make this possible, Sony put four different "Clear Audio
Technologies" into the S700F. The first is a noise canceling
function, the same one as included on their ~10,000 yen
MDR-NC22 headphones. Since the noise canceling functionality
is now integrated into the player itself. But be careful;
since this new noise canceling function requires a microphone
to operate properly, your existing headphones won't be able
to take advantage of it. According to Sony, this function
alone reduces noise around you down to a quarter their
previous levels. The remaining three technologies --
"Clear Stereo," "Clear Bass," and the included
headphones -- also help improve the player's audio quality.

One nice addition to the S600 and S700 players is a color
screen. Previous flash-based Walkman products did have
organic EL screens, but they were monochrome. These new
screens were developed by Sony and sport a brightness
of 450 candelas per square meter. That's more than
double the brightness of the screen on Sony's PSP.
Taking advantage of the new color screen is the
"Jacket Search" feature, allowing you to search
for your favorite albums by their album art.

Another addition is the "WM-PORT," a sort of universal port
along the lines of the Dock Connector found on iPods. Sony
has a number of attachments lined up that fit with the
WM-PORT, but the most significant is the "WLA-NWB1"
Bluetooth transmitter available for around 7,000 yen.
Using this transmitter in conjunction with Bluetooth
headphones, you'll be able to store your player in
your pocket and listen to music completely wirelessly.
It's good to see more companies getting onboard with
wireless technologies; wires are the bane of consumer

Format support is extensive, including MP3, ATRAC, WMA, AAC,
Linear PCM, and Sony's new "ATRAC Advanced Lossless" codecs.
Unfortunately, DRM is only supported for ATRAC files.
You'll need to play your protected WMA and AAC files using
something else.

The battery life on the players is, in a word, awesome. In
addition to a "Quick Charge" feature that allows for 3 hours
of playback on a 3 minute charge, a 2 hour full charge allows
for a smooth 50 hours of playback. When using the Noise
Canceling function, the playback time drops to about 43 hours.

More info:
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Date: Friday 17th November, 2006
Where: Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Roppongi Hills - 3rd Floor Ballroom
Time: 7pm until very......late
Attire: Black tie event (Men - jackets with ties are fine also).
Tickets: Purchase through tickets at or online at
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Written by: Liam McNulty
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