GW-280 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:


The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 280 Friday November 2, 2007
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Name: Sharp AQUOS P series
Category: Home Audio/Video
Price: Open Price; 22 inch estimated at 180,000 yen, 26 inch at
200,000 yen, 32 inch at 240,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 22, 2007

The Gist: Sharp has announced the 'AQUOS P' line of LCD
televisions and is scheduled to release three models next month
in Japan. The model sizes are 22-inch, 26-inch, and 32-inch.

The release is notable because all three models are support Full
HD/1080p (1920x1080) resolution. As a result, the 26-inch and
22-inch models are the industry's first screens of such sizes
that support Full HD resolutions. Of course, with these smaller
screen sizes, it's likely that a lot of the pixel detail will be
lost when you sit too far away. That's why Sharp has suggested
these models as second TVs/displays, perhaps placed in a bedroom
or connected to a PC.

For connection to your PC, you'll use the DVI-D port with HDCP
support or the mini D-Sub 15-pin port. The unit's stand is also
designed such that a keyboard can be stored inside. If you want
to connect the screen to additional devices, you can also take
advantage of two HDMI ports, a D5 port, S-Video, Composite, and
i.Link. It has an integrated terrestrial digital/BS digital/110
CS digital tuner, as well as integrated 5W x 2ch speakers.

Additional features include support for 'AQUOS Familink' for
connection with other A/V components in Sharp's product line,
picture-in-picture for simultaneous display of PC and TV
signals, as well as the ability to choose between 'zooming'
non-1080p signals or just leaving them as-is.

More info:
Name: Sony Cybershot DSC-T2
Category: Digital Still Camera
Price: Open Price; estimated 43,000 yen
Release date in Japan: November 22, 2007

The Gist: Sony's latest Cybershot is the feature-packed DSC-T2.
Its big selling point is an integrated 4GB of memory, allowing
for 'about 40,000 images' according to Sony.

Slated to be available in white, green, and black colors, as
well as pink and blue on SonyStyle, the DSC-T2 is an 8.1MP
compact digital camera. Since the 2.7 inch TFT LCD screen on
the back is a touchscreen, there are not many buttons on the
body of the unit. This touchscreen also allows images to be
edited by drawing on the screen; Sony has included various
paint pens, 30 stamps, and 15 frames. It's nice that your
original images will remain the same; edited images are saved
separately in 640x480 or 3MP resolutions.

The camera's software has a few features worth mentioning.
The first is the 'Album Function', which automatically groups
pictures based on their recording data and recording frequency.
Within this Album function, images can be displayed index-style,
calendar-style, and list-style. The idea here is that since you
have 4GB of memory, you'll end up storing a lot of pictures on
the camera itself. The included PC software, 'Picture Motion
Browser', even allows you to move pictures from your PC to your
camera for storage purposes. That '40,000 images' figure Sony
stated is somewhat misleading, because apparently the camera is
only capable of storing 24,000 of its own pictures. The
remaining 16,000 images will have to come from your PC. Of
course, the counts provided are for 640x480 images. If you
record your images at this camera's highest resolution, 8.1MP,
you're looking at roughly 5MB per image; that works out to
roughly 820 pictures.

Since many pictures end up on the internet these days, it's
nice to see the 'Picture Motion Browser Portable' feature
included on the camera. This one makes it possible to
resize/upload images to various internet services without using
any special PC software. In other words, you simply connect the
camera to a PC connected to the internet, and then you use the
camera's integrated software to handle the rest. Anyone who has
ever uploaded or even emailed pictures knows that selecting
them, resizing them, and uploading them can sometimes be a
hassle (or not even possible if you're using a machine without
the appropriate software). The camera also allows pictures to
be 'marked for upload' to the internet, so the next time you
connect the camera to an internet-enabled PC, a lot of pain will
be eased. Such a feature should be particularly useful if you
frequently travel overseas but don't take your own computer.

A final interesting feature of this camera is the 'Scrapbook
Function'. When the 'Scrapbook Button' is pushed, a photo album
based on picture recording dates and recording frequency will be

In terms of recording abilities, the camera offers a maximum
resolution of 3264x2488 pixels, 3x optical zoom, optical image
stabilization, 8cm macro mode, and maximum ISO3200 sensitivity.
Sony's successful 'Smile Shutter' feature-which automatically
releases the shutter when a subject's smile is detected-is also

When the 4GB of internal memory doesn't cut it, the T2 also
offers a Memory Stick Duo slot for compatibility with the
format. The battery pack will last for about 280 pictures
under CIPA standards. The T2 is also compatible with Sony's
'Cybershot Station' docking station and assorted cables,
enabling high definition of output to your display using
D-terminal or Component connectors.

More info:
Name: Hitachi Wooo UT series
Category: Home Audio/Video
Price: Open Price; 32 inch estimated at 230,000 yen, 37 inch at
330,000 yen, 42 inch at 430,000 yen
Release date in Japan: December 2007 - April 2008

The Gist: It's difficult to call Hitachi's new 'Wooo UT' series
of LCD TVs 'TVs' at all, given that they don't actually contain
a TV tuner. Hitachi has blurred the line between TV and display
even further with their latest move. The 'Wooo UT' series
separates the tuner (the 'tele') and screen (the 'vision') and
tuner into two distinct pieces of hardware, then connects them
again with an HDMI cable or wirelessly.

Hitachi's objective here was rather simple: they pulled the
tuner out from behind the LCD screen in order to make it
thinner. As a result, the screen is now 35mm at its thinnest
point, and 39mm at its thickest. In the UT lineup is the 32-inch
UT32-HV700 with a resolution of 1366x768, as well as the 37-inch
UT37-XV700 and 42-inch UT42-XV700 with resolutions of 1920x1080
pixels. The models will be released in December 2007, February
2008, and April 2008 (respectively).

This isn't the first time we've seen a TV with its tuner as a
separate unit. Only a few weeks ago in we looked at Sony's upcoming XEL-1
organic EL TV that takes advantage of this same concept. But
Hitachi has seemingly taken things a step beyond Sony. While
the tuner and display portion are separated in the XEL-1,
they're still physically connected to one another and cannot
be separated (at least by the regular consumer). In these
Hitachi models, however, the tuner portion is completely
separate from the displays, and is connected using only an HDMI
cable. In this sense, buyers not only get the benefit of a far
thinner screen because it doesn't have a tuner or other
connectors, they get the freedom to put the tuner and screen
in whatever positions they please. So at least we understand
part of the sales name for this product: 'WonderxFree,Woo.'

The tuner unit itself is called the 'Wooo Station,' and one
such Wooo Station is thankfully included with each display.
If you're anything like me and hate cables, you'll appreciate
that Hitachi has you covered with the 'TP-WL700H' wireless-izer
for the Wooo Station. This makes it possible to connect the
display portion and tuner unit wirelessly, using Ultra Wideband
technology from as far as 9 meters away. Sound good? Certainly,
but you'll need to pay about 90,000 yen for this privilege, as
the TP-WL700H isn't included. Hitachi estimates a bundle rate
of 10-15% for this wireless adapter. The Woo Station contains a
terrestrial digital/BS digital/110 CS digital tuner, and analog
tuner. It's equipped with three HDMI inputs (supporting 1080p),
a D4 input, a Composite input, and two analog audio inputs.
Of course, it also features the HDMI output that goes to the
display, as well as an optical audio output. One final feature
of the Wooo Station is an iVDR-S slot; for more information
about this hard drive-based format, please refer to

All three of the displays use IPS panels. While the 32 and 37
inch models use panels developed and manufactured by IPS Alpha
Technology (a joint venture by Matsushita, Toshiba, and Hitachi
Displays, now wholly owned by Hitachi), the 42 inch model is
using a panel from a third party. 'Picture Master Full HD' is
the name of the image processing engine in these new screens,
featuring '3D Digital Color Management,' whatever it may be.
Look for the 32-inch model to hit mid-December, and the other
two models to follow in early 2008.

More info:
Written by: Liam McNulty
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