GW-283 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:


The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 283 Friday November 30, 2007
Subscribers: 9467

J-SOX Software Solutions-Virtual Machines-Industry Analysis-
PLUS A New Treatment for Cancer & Travel in Okinawa
Read online at

Name: IO Data Device HDMC-U16ZM
Category: Portable hard drive
Price: 26,565 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-December 2007

The Gist: Now that hard drive costs have gone down, sizes gone
down, and capacities gone up, USB memory is yet another
battleground for hard drives and flash memory. In years past,
hard drives have always been found in a certain set of
components, while flash memory was always used in a different
set. But now we're beginning to see a great deal of crossover
between the two formats: laptops with only flash memory, mobile
phones with only hard drives, digital video cameras with only
hard drives, and game consoles with only flash memory.
That said, each storage format has clear advantages and
disadvantages, so don't expect there to be a winner or loser in
this situation.

IO Data Device’s new HDMC-U16ZM is good evidence of this.
While it qualifies as USB memory given its size (not much larger
than a couple of matchbooks) and weight, inside you won't find
any flash memory at all. It packs a tiny 16GB hard drive.
One could certainly question the durability of a hard drive
for such an application; hard drives really aren’t meant to
jolted around, thrown into pockets, slapped on desks, or subject
to much of the abuse to which we regularly expose our USB memory
devices. It seems IO Data Device has us covered, though, as the
U16ZM is completely sealed and can be dunked in water as deep as
1 meter. According to the company's tests, it can also withstand
a drop as far as 122cm (4 feet). While there have been plenty of
USB memory devices with hard drives in the past, it's nice to
see a company understanding how much abuse these things should
be able to take.

The U16ZM works under all modern versions of Windows and Mac OS.

More info:
Name: Sanwa Supply Optical Finger Mouse
Category: PC peripheral
Price: 3,480 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: For those who must mouse in small spaces comes the
‘Optical Finger Mouse’ from Sanwa Supply. It’s hard to actually
call this a ‘mouse’ since it isn’t meant to be placed on a flat
surface, but it is a pointing device, so maybe that’s the logic.

Either way, the Optical Finger Mouse is an optical pointing
device that’s equipped with a belt and is meant to be strapped
on the index finger of your right hand. You then put your finger
on a surface, be it your desk, head, or the palm of your other
hand. The optical sensor will read the changes in that surface
as you move your finger across it. So while a traditional
optical mouse involves moving the mouse across a mousepad and
having the optical sensor recognize the movement, the Optical
Finger Mouse requires moving your finger across any surface and
the optical sensor recognizes that movement. To actually click
or scroll, you’ll need to use your thumb to click one of the
mouse's two buttons or operate its scroll wheel.

Sanwa Supply gathers that since you move your finger to operate
the mouse, rather than your entire wrist/hand, it's a lot more
sensitive to changes and can thus be used in smaller spaces.
It will work under all modern versions of Windows, and connects
via USB. The mouse won’t be available in stores, so you'll need
to visit Sanwa Direct (‘More info’) to get your fingers on this

More info:
Name: IO Data Device HDL-GS series
Category: Network Attached Storage
Price: 24,360 yen ~ 74,655 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-December 2007

The Gist: Also from IO Data Device is a new lineup of Network
Attached Storage devices, the HDL-GS series. The models range
from the 250GB ‘HDL-GS250’ at 24,360 yen to the 1TB ‘HDL-GS1.0T’
at 74,655 yen.

The HDL-GS series packs a nice set of features for home
audio/video networking junkies. There’s a Digital Living Network
Alliance (DLNA) server that allows the drive to connect directly
to devices such as recorders, TVs, and Playstation 3s. They can
also connect directly to Toshiba’s REGZA Z3500 series of LCD
TVs. iTunes users will also be delighted to hear about the
Streaming Server functionality, allowing the drive to stream
MP3, M4A, or MP4 files directly a PC (or Mac?) running iTunes.
This magic all happens over a Gigabit Ethernet port.

For those without such desires, the HDL-GS drives also feature a
USB 2.0 port for connection to your system. Alternatively, the
same port can be used for connection to a digital camera; you
can use the ‘Digicam Copy Function’ to load pictures from your
camera onto the drive without use of a PC. These pictures can
obviously be accessed normally, but they can also be accessed
via your web browser, be it a browser on your PC or your game

More info:
Written by: Liam McNulty
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