GW-294 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 294 Friday April 11, 2008
Subscribers: 9467
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Sony HDR-TG1 puts HD video in your pocket

Name: Sony HDR-TG1
Category: digital video/still camera
Price: Open price (about JPY130,000)
Release date in Japan: May 2008 (pre-order from April 4 at

Video is one area where Sony's still got it. The HDR-TG1
Handycam is an HD 1080i unit (1920 x 1080 pixels, the same as
digital Hi-Vision broadcasts) that's only 240 grams (300 with
battery), 11.9cm tall, 6.3cm deep, and a mere 3.2cm wide - the
world's lightest and smallest consumer-level 1080i camcorder.
The titanium shell with 'premium hard coat' is another world's
first for the category, Sony says.

Memory is Sony's proprietary Memory Stick PRO Duo or PRO Duo
Mark2 cards (a sticky point for users who prefer more
widely-used formats). The included Mark2 8GB card will record
about 55 minutes of AVCHD-format HD video at the highest-quality
HD mode, or up to 3 hours at lower-quality HD modes. You can
also switch to MPEG2 recording, whose available modes net
between 1 hour 55 minutes and 5 hours 25 minutes on the 8GB
card. (Buy extra batteries for those long recording sessions: as
you'd expect from a lightweight battery, Sony claims only 1 hour
35 minutes of life for straight recording, or 45 minutes for
more realistic conditions using zoom, standby, on/off, etc.)

Vital specs: 10x Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar optical zoom lens,
2-megapixel ClearVid CMOS sensor, BIONZ processing engine (which
optimizes dynamic range by automatically adjusting over- and
under-exposed picture areas), 5.1 Dolby Digital surround audio
recording with zoom microphone, and 2.7-inch touch panel LCD
screen. Still camera functionality is 4 megapixels, or 2.3
megapixels for still photos snapped during video recording.

The HDR-TG1 incorporates face detection technology for both
digital and still images, a feature also found in some Sony
Cybershot models. You've probably seen this tech popping up in a
lot of digital cameras; in this case, Sony says the software
will pick out up to eight faces and, acting on the assumption
that those faces are the highlights of your shot, automatically
adjust exposure, color-control, focus, still photo flash, and
even encoding to best flatter those mugs.

This Sony isn't a pro model with every imaginable feature, but
for HD video in a very compact package, it's worth checking out.

More info:
index.html (Japanese)


DoCoMo SH705iII mobile phone puts the focus on talk

Name: DoCoMo FOMA SH705iII
Category: mobile phone
Price: Open price
Release date in Japan: April 9, 2008

With all the text messaging and TV viewing and stock trading and
what not that cellies boast these days, it's easy to forget one
of their uses: talking to people. The new SH705iII brings voice
back into focus with Sharp's trademarked 'Triple Kukkiri (Clear)
Talk' technology trio: 'Noise Reduction Function' to filter out
surrounding din, 'Enhancement Function' to boost the mid-to-high
voice frequency range, and 'Echo Cancellation Function' to cut
the echo caused by the phone's microphones picking up sound from
its speaker. Two built-in microphones aid the unit in all this
sampling and filtering.

'Whoa, that's a lot of information; slow down', you say. All
right, easy enough. Push the i-mode button while speaking and
another Sharp trademark technology, 'Slow Talk', delivers a
fourth trick: it slo-o-ws the next three seconds of the other
party's speech to 1.3 times actual length, giving you a little
more time to hear and think. Sounds perfect for catching the
'name' of that fast-talking caller claiming to be a grandson in
need of quick money.

Tech specs: 2.8-inch wide QVGA screen; 3.2 megapixel camera with
hand shake and target movement compensation, face recognition,
and auto-focus; Bluetooth; e-wallet; microSD memory (up to 2GB);
one-button access to One-seg TV; and a camera-based 'Meishi
Reader' feature that claims to automatically transfer data
extracted from snapshots of a business card into the phone's
1000-record address book.

The phone's voice-enhancement functions point to older users as
the target market, as do many other features: initial factory
settings for big on-screen text, additional screen enlargement
function, simplified menu options, big buttons, and staid color
choices (Prime White or Prime Black). Similarly, there's a
'Camera Loupe' feature that lets you use the camera and screen
as a digital magnifying glass, boosting the visibility of little
text in newspapers, bus schedules, etc. Still, whether you're
old or young, the SH705iII may be a great choice if you actually
use your phone for talking a lot.

More info:


GREEN HOUSE 8x Telescope Lens boosts mobile phone camera power

Category: camera lens
Price: Open price (about JPY8880)
Release date in Japan: Mid-April, 2008

It happens every hanami season. You're in the park, snapping
sakura blossom close-ups with your mobile phone camera, like
most normal revelers do these days. But here they come: the
bigshot photo hobbyists with their fancy SLR cameras and
rifle-like telephoto lenses. Your gazes lock on each other's
equipment. A silent challenge crackles across the air. And in
the end, it's you and your little phonecam that blink, yielding
to the heavy Pentax hardware.

GREEN HOUSE wants to help even the score. The black GH-ML8-K and
silver GH-ML8-S are 18mm, F1.1 8x optical telescope lenses for
mobile phones. An adjustable lens holder clamps over most phone
models, positioning the lightweight 38-gram, 6 cm-long zoom lens
over the phone's camera lens. For extra stability, an included
mini tripod screws into the lens holder. It all looks like a
miniature 'real' camera setup - or a nice mount for watching
One-seg TV, GREEN HOUSE suggests.

If those SLR bullies still smirk, offer to email your rival a
sample of your new zoom-enabled photographs. 'Oh, wait, I
forgot: your Nikon doesn't do email, does it.' Now who's looking

More info:


Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) Got digital secrets? From the end of April, Buffalo Inc. will
sell the 195-gram HDS-PHU2 portable hard disk drive that
automatically applies AES 128-bit encryption to all content,
locking things down when the drive is disconnected from a
computer or when the computer sleeps. Great for government types
that keep losing sensitive info-packed laptops in taxis. A
shock-absorbing body adds to data protection. About JPY29800 for
80GB, JPY39800 for 160GB.

2) Oh, you were thinking more of on-screen, visual secrets?
EVERGREEN has your back with a new optical 'Stealth Mouse'. Give
the built-in panic button a quick click, and exactly 0.2 seconds
later, your NSFW (Not Safe For Work or Not Safe For Wife; take
your pick) image is hidden beneath a fake spreadsheet. Whew!
(The product web page coyly shows a screenful of iPod photos as
an example of an image you might want to quickly bury. Uh-huh.)
Windows only. Stealth Mouse: JPY1999. Your job or marriage:

3) Just for the curious: If your boss gets wise to Stealth Mice
on office desks, head for EVERGREEN's older foot-activated
'Stealth Switch', which performs the same function while sitting
under your desk disguised as a power outlet. Only JPY499. 'Hmm,
why does Suzuki stamp his foot and sweat every time I check in
on him?...'
Written by: Timm Tuttle
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