GW-268 -- Onkyo KB-1, KM-1W, JVC XA-AW33, Panasonic HDC-SD3

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:


The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 268
Tuesday April 10, 2007
Subscribers: 9467

------------------ ICA Event - April 23 -------------------

Speaker: Osamu Ueda, Advisor to the President
Forval Corporation
Topic: M and A Deals: Striking Fear in Japanese Management

Complete event details at Required)
Date: Monday, April 23, 200
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner and Open Bar included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members)

Open to all: location is Ristorante Conca d'Oro


Name: Onkyo KB-1, KM-1W
Category: PC peripherals
Price: Estimated at 8,000, 13,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-April 2007

The Gist: Onkyo is gearing up for the introduction of the
'KB-1' keyboard and 'KB-1W' keyboard and mouse sets later
this month. It probably seems a bit odd for Onkyo, who
primarily deals in audio/video components, to be coming
out with such products. But that's where the fun comes in,
because these peripherals are fully aluminum and 'designed
to match audio/video equipment.'

The KB-1 is a keyboard that will go for around 8,000 yen.
It connects via USB. There's certainly an 'audio/video
component' look to it, with its aluminum frame, hairline
manufacturing, and 1.2kg weight. The keyboard features
106 keys as well as 7 hotkeys. It has a 19mm key pitch.

A step up from the KB-1 is the KB-1W, which offers a
slightly different experience. First, the keyboard is
'aluminum panel' instead of straight up aluminum, which
may be part of the reason it weighs 620g. In addition,
the keyboard offers 18 hotkeys instead of 7. Completing
the package is a matching 800dpi mouse. One better feature
is the fact that this set is wireless, so it's a bit more
useful in a home theater environment.

More info:
Name: JVC XA-AW33
Category: Bathtub A/V
Price: 19,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Japan's love of spending time in the bathtub seems
unsurpassed, and few consumer electronics companies are
willing to risk upsetting the public by intruding on them
during such isolated moments. Between the long hours at work,
crowded housing, and unforgiving population density, the
bathtub seems one of the few places someone living in Japan
can have some peace and quiet.

Just in case you're not into the whole 'quiet bath time'
thing, JVC is preparing a new audio player just for you.
The 'XA-AW33' floating audio player has recently been
released by JVC for your enjoyment.

The AW33 features 256MB of internal memory and a flat panel
monaural speaker developed by NXT of the UK. NXT is known
for their flat speaker technology and the AW33 seems to be
no exception; the speaker actually vibrates the surface of
the water so it too amplifies your music. Thus it doesn't
necessarily have to be used in your bathtub -- you could
probably also use it in a pool, a still lake, a swamp, or
that puddle that always forms between your garage door and
your driveway. A blue light glows during playback, so given
the wrong circumstances, the AW33 could easily be mistaken
for an alien vessel that just happen to land in your bathtub.

The top cover of the AW33 opens to reveal the playback
controls. File support includes MP3 and WMA formats, where
Windows Media DRM is also supported. 3 songs come preloaded
on the AW33. To load new songs, you'll connect it via USB 1.1
to your computer. Four AA batteries allow for about 15 hours
of playback. A stand is also included so you can use the
player outside of water.

More info:
Name: Panasonic HDC-SD3
Category: Camcorder
Price: Open Price; estimated around 150,000 yen
Release date in Japan: April 25, 2007

The Gist: It's been only a few months since Panasonic's
release of their AVCHD previous camcorder, the HDC-SD1.
The SD3 improves upon the SD1 in a number of areas, namely
the recording resolution -- it's been bumped up to 1920x1080
from the previous 1440x1080.

It's rather odd for Panasonic to make such a move considering
the SD1 was only released in December of last year. In fact,
Matsushita is completely ending production of the old camera.
If you purchased an SD1, perhaps you should consider kicking
up some dust; Matsushita has publicized no details about any
sort of upgrade program for SD1 owners.

Using the included 4GB SDHC card, you can store about 40
minutes of 1920x1080 video. There are other recording modes
available such as HN (1440x1080, 9Mbps), and HE (1440x1080,
6Mbps). It's interesting to note that this camera includes
no standard definition recording modes whatsoever; it's High
Definition or no definition. Of course, you could always edit
the HD videos down to the necessary size using your computer.

The optics of the SD3 remain the same. That means you'll get
the same 3-CCDs at 560,000 pixels apiece, yielding an
effective resolution for videos and images of 1.5MP.
The lens has a 12x optical zoom, focal range of 38.5-462mm,
and optical stabilization.

Five microphones record audio in Dolby Digital 5.1ch or 2ch
formats. The 'Extreme Directivity Zoom Mic' feature also
directionalizes the microphone in conjunction with the zoom
of the camera lens.

Unfortunately, the SD3 only supports SDHC cards as large as
4GB. It would have been nice to see support for 8GB cards,
as these will be popping up more in the future, but 40
minutes of recording might do the trick for casual recording
purposes. Other features of the SD3 include a HDMI output
jack, USB 2.0 connection, and 1 hour and 5 minute recording
life using the included battery.

More info:
Written by: Liam McNulty
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