GW-258 -- Sony Personal Communicator "mylo", PBJ SmartCaddie EX, Fujitsu Ten AVN7406HD

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The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 258
Monday October 30, 2006
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Name: Sony Personal Communicator "mylo"
Category: Communication device
Price: 45,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Orders start mid-December 2006,
shipment in February 2007

The Gist: Originally announced by Sony Electronics in the
USA, the Sony Personal Communicator "mylo" is making its
way Japan-side early next year. It's a rare occurrence
that Sony Electronics USA's original products make their
way back to the shores of the Motherland.

The "mylo," short for "my life online," is not a mobile
phone, PDA, PSP, or portable media player. It's a portable
communication device. At first glance, it looks like a
mobile phone, where the screen portion slides up to reveal
a standard QWERTY keypad. Sitting to the right of the 2.4",
320 x 240 dot screen is what resembles the directional pad
of a game controller.

Inside, you'll find 1GB of flash memory, a Memory Stick
Duo/PRO Duo slot, USB port, 200mW speakers, flattened
headset connector, microphone, and 802.11b wireless LAN

With this mish-mash of components, you'll be able to
fulfill a number of your needs. On the multimedia front
the mylo supports playback of MP3, ATRAC, and WMA audio,
MPEG-4 video, and JPEG, PNG, and BMP images. These files
can be stored on the integrated flash memory or accessed
via a Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo. But the real claim to fame
of the mylo is its communication functions; it has an
integrated web browser and integrated Skype/GoogleTalk
messenger client. The web browser connects with "PLAYLOG,"
a social networking service that allows you to upload lists
of tracks you've listened to on your mylo. Since the mylo
has an integrated microphone, the Skype client can even be
used to make VoIP calls.

The mylo recharges via USB. Its batteries will last for a
respectable 45 hours of music playback, 3.5 hours of VoIP
talking, or 7 hours of web browser. And that's all there is
to it. The mylo has a nice range of features, but given the
multimedia and communication functionality already offered
by even low-end mobile phones in Japan, the 45,000 yen
price may be hard for some to swallow.

More info:
Name: PBJ SmartCaddie EX
Category: Handheld PC
Price: 139,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Early December 2006

The Gist: The latest from mobile PC vendor PBJ is the
"SmartCaddie EX." It is Japan's second Ultra Mobile PC
(UMPC), and is slated for release in December of this
year for 139,800 yen.

The "SmartCaddie EX" improves upon the "SmartCaddie" UMPC,
released in April of this year, with a new casing and a
processor change. The case has dropped to 222.5 x 144 x 25mm
(W x D x H), and the weight has been reduced to 830g. PBJ
managed to accomplish this even after swapping out the
previous VIA C7-M processor with an Intel Celeron M. In
addition to the 900MHz processor, the SmartCaddie EX is
equipped with an Intel 915GMS chipset, 512MB of memory,
30GB hard drive, 800 x 480 7" touchscreen, 1.3MP camera,
and Windows XP TabletPC Edition 2005. It's an impressive
offering considering the dimensions and price of the unit.
Other interfaces include two USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth, a
SD/MMC/Memory Stick card slot, and IEEE 802.11b/g wireless
LAN. The included base station also adds four more USB 2.0
ports, Gigabit Ethernet, mini D-sub 15-pin, S-video output,
and an AC adapter jack.

Before you go throwing down the plastic, though, you may
want to reconsider the circumstances under which you'll
be using this "Ultra Mobile PC." Its battery life is a
paltry 2.5 hours.

More info:
Name: Fujitsu Ten AVN7406HD
Category: Car navigation/multimedia
Price: 248,850 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-November 2006

The Gist: It isn't taking long for Japan's various consumer
electronics firms to adopt One-Seg compatibility into their
products, and the latest is Fujitsu Ten with their "AVN7406HD"
navigation/multimedia system for your double-DIN automobile.
Previous Fujitsu Ten models were One-Seg compatible when
paired with an external tuner, but the 7406HD represents
the company's first to actually integrate the tuner into
the headunit.

Jumping right into it, the 7406HD offers "MUSIC JUKE" for
ripping audio CDs to the integrated 40GB hard drive at 4x.
About 3,000 songs can be fit on the hard drive, which are
stored in the ATRAC3 format. Apart from an internal CDDB
with track/artist information on about 230,000 tracks,
"FM de TITLE" and "FM de TITLE plus" allow track information
even cover art to be acquired through some complicated FM
multiplexing technology. Also on the multimedia front are
DVD-Video, DVDアR/RW playback, Audio CD playback, and
playback of MP3/WMA files stored on CD-R/RWs. The integrated
Dolby Digital decoder should help, as will "Circle Surround II"
for virtualizing 5.1ch sound with 4 speakers. You'll be able
to control the device's various functions on the display
itself, as the 480 x 234 dot 7" widescreen display is equipped
with a touchscreen.

The 7406HD makes use of only a single antenna that handles
One-Seg broadcasts, terrestrial analog TV, and GPS. For
navigation, routes can also be calculated using traffic
prediction algorithms based on the day of the week and time of day.

More info:

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Written by: Liam McNulty
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