GW-290 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:


The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 290 Friday Febuary 29, 2008
Subscribers: 9467

Due to other time commitments, Liam McNulty will be unable to
continue writing the GadgetWatch Newsletter. We thank Liam for
all the hard work he has put in and wish him well.

If any reader feels that they could take over the role, please

Name: Kenwood Kseries Silver Limited
Category: Home audio/video
Price: 212,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: Kenwood has begun taking orders for a CD receiver and
speaker setup they're calling the 'Kseries Silver Limited,'
where the limited refers to the fact that only 50 sets will be
available. And those 50 aren't to be found in stores; you must
order directly from Kenwood via their website.

This limited edition set consists of the R-K1 receiver and
LS-K1000 speakers. The price of these two independent components
adds up to the cost of this Kseries Silver Limited set, so
you're essentially getting a limited edition model for no
additional cost. The limited edition varies from the regular
edition in that it features a 11mm-thick aluminum panel on the
front bezel, giving the system added stability to reduce
extraneous vibrations. And that should make it sound better, so
there's little reason to complain.

The CD receiver is also known as the 'Kseries Esule,' as it was
released in December 2006. It features an integrated AM/FM tuner
as well. 'Supreme EX' is available for CD playback, a function
which restores audio signals above 20kHz. The signal to noise
ratio is over 110dB, so expect clear playback.

More info:
Name: Sports USB Flash Memory
Category: PC peripheral
Price: Open Price; estimated around 3,680 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-March 2008

The Gist: Green House continues on the path to glory with their
introduction of the "Sports USB Flash Memory" line of USB
devices, all shaped like sports equipment. In the lineup we have
a soccer ball, an American football, a golf ball, a bowling pin,
a baseball, a basketball, and soccer shoes. Surely every member
of your family can appreciate at least one of the sports
represented above.

Green House says every single one of these USB memory devices is
hand-made. That won't really affect the capacity, which is 1GB,
but it supposedly gives them a more realistic feel. While the
sizes vary depending on the model you've chosen, most seem to be
around 35x35x56mm, making them just large enough to be a
nuisance in your pocket.

More info:

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Name: Sony Walkman NW-A820 Series
Category: Portable audio/video
Price: 8GB: 28,000 yen, 16GB: 38,800 yen
Release date in Japan: March 20, 2008

The Gist: Back in 2004, a Sony-owned subsidiary (Aiwa, which
basically longer exists) released a portable audio player called
the XDM-S710BT that featured integrated Bluetooth functionality.
This allowed the player to connect to mobile phones so it could
pause/play music when phone calls came in, and it could be used
as a microphone so you didn't need to dig your phone out of your
pocket. Additionally, in 2006, Sony released a Bluetooth
transmitter that fits into the WM-PORT of certain Walkman models
at the time.

So to call the NW-A820 series 'Sony's first to support
Bluetooth' wouldn't be wholly accurate. While it may have taken
over 3 years for Sony to come up with another player with
integrated Bluetooth, this new A820 series is the first of the
Walkman line to do so. The 8GB NW-A828 and 16GB NW-A829 will
available in black, white, and pink colors. Additionally, Sony
plans on offering a 16GB gold colored model via SonyStyle, so
keep an eye out there as well.

The Bluetooth support of Aiwa's portable audio player was
primarily aimed at interfacing with your mobile phone, but the
NW820 series offers Bluetooth for a wireless connection to
headphones. It supports Bluetooth 2.0's A2DP and AVRCP profiles,
giving you the ability to hear audio from music and videos on
your headphones. Pairing with your headphones takes only a few
clicks, and needs only be done once. While the Bluetooth feature
is operating, a blue LED on the bottom corner of the unit will
illuminate. Unfortunately the included headphones do not support
Bluetooth, so if you really want to enjoy the A820 series'
wireless function, you'll need to ready your own Bluetooth
headphones or get an adapter for your existing ones.

Of course you're not limited to just headphones. Sony has
released several Bluetooth compatible products in the past few
months, such as Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth component systems,
and the Sony Rolly. So this announcement of a Walkman with
Bluetooth isn't exactly surprising.

For file support we see MP3, WMA, AAC, HE-AAC, ATRAC, ATRAC
Advanced Lossless, and WAV for audio, then MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 for
video. It's worth noting that the HE-AAC support of this new
player allows it to be compatible with the 'au x Sony Music
Project,' giving users cross-platform (au mobile phone, Sony
Walkman, Sony NetJuke, PC) freedom for their Chaku-Uta Full

Further hardware specs include a 2.4-inch 320x240 dot LCD
screen, slide switch for integrated noise canceling
functionality, direct recording from Cds/MDs at up to 1.4Mbps
(WAV) or 256Kbps (ATRAC3plus), and 10/36 hour battery life for
video/audio playback when not using Bluetooth.

More info:

Due to other time commitments, Liam McNulty will be unable to
continue writing the GadgetWatch Newsletter. We thank Liam for
all the hard work he has put in and wish him well.

If any reader feels that they could take over the role, please

Written by: Liam McNulty
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