GW-298 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 298 Friday May 16, 2008
Subscribers: 9467

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CASIO updates 'world's thinnest' projectors

Name: CASIO XJ-S series
Category: projector
Price: JPY207,900 - JPY312,900
Release date in Japan: Early July, 2008

Modern projectors are thin and light enough to be
briefcase-luggable; they'll happily travel with you to meetings.
CASIO, which boasts the 'world's thinnest' 3.2cm-thin B5
projectors, is improving its lineup with the similarly-svelte
but brighter XJ-S series.

Leading the eight new models is the XJ-S57 (JPY312,900), which
sports a 2x zoom, auto keystone correction (to keep the screen a
nice rectangle when you project at an angle), XGA (1,024×768)
resolution that will display sources up to UXGA (1,600×1,200),
and (along with the XJ-SC215) the ability to read and display
data (MS Office, PDF, JPEG, BMP, AVI, MPEG4, Motion JPEG)
directly from a USB drive. At 3000 lumens, it's bright enough to
use in a meeting room with all the lights on. A separately-sold
USB wireless adapter will let you send data from a PC to the
unit via WiFi.

Lower-priced models cut the brightness, down to 2300 lumens in
the entry-level, USB-less XJ-S32 (JPY198,000).

All eight models offer an impressively small B5-sized package
(27 x 20 x 4.3 cm; 3.2 cm at the thinnest point) weighing less
than many laptops at 1.8kg. Minimum projection range is 0.84m;
expect a 60' screen at 1.7 - 3.4m distance or a 100' screen at
2.7 - 5.6m. (Overall, screen sizes range from 15' to a
theoretical 300'.) Final details: 16+ million colors, contrast
ratio 1800:1, mono speaker.

More information: (Japanese)


SONY releases 1TB VGF-HS1 home server

Name: SONY Liblog Station VGF-HS1
Category: server
Price: Open price (about JPY60,000, or JPY80,000 for 1.5TB)
Release date in Japan: May 17, 2008

SONY is set to release a new home server with either 1TB (that's
1000 gigabytes) or 1.5TB of storage for your digital media. The
'Liblog Station' falls under the 'Extension Line by VAIO' line,
and takes the flat, round white shape of recent SONY PCs.

As a home server, the VGF-HS1 acts as a big external hard drive
for networked PCs in your home or accessed via the Internet.
(Remote server access sounds mighty business-like, but SONY
suggests personal uses as well, such as viewing your home-stored
photos from a friend's home.) Naturally, it boasts extensive
convergence with SONY products. One touch of a button on the
server will download video from a SONY video or still cam. The
DLNA-based 'Sony Room Link' function connects the device to
additional products, such as the BRAVIA TV and NETJUKE audio
system. Finally, the server will accept SONY's MediaStick card
media, as well as SD/SDHC and CompactFlash media.

Who's the target market for a home server? SONY notes that over
30% of PC-owning households have two or more machines, with 70%
of those multi-PC owners connecting the machines by LAN; these
are the prime users who can make use of a home server. Sharing
PC files is only the start of the modern household's concerns,
though; SONY touts the DNLA standard, found in over 700
electronic devices sold in Japan, as the key to getting all of
your gadgets talking to each other under the convergence
umbrella. (DLNA, or Digital Living Network Alliance, is an
international industry effort toward interoperability among PCs,
consumer electronics, and mobile devices.)

Other details: 3 USB ports, 10Base-T/100Base-TC/1000Base-T
Ethernet, 27cm diameter x 7.1cm height, 3.1kg. Works with
Windows XP/Vista PCs.

More info: (Japanese)


SONY VGF-CP1 digital frame serves up photos

Name: SONY Canvas Online VGF-CP1
Category: digital photo frame
Price: Open price (about JPY30,000)
Release date in Japan: May 17, 2008

Appearing together with the Liblog Station server is a new
digital photo frame companion, the VGF-CP1. It'll wirelessly
grab photos from a computer and dish up slideshows, complete
with background music, on its 7' screen. SONY claims one touch
of a button will connect the screen to your WiFi-networked
VGF-HS1, PC, or 'SONY Room Link'-enabled device, thanks to
simple AOSS (AirStation One-Touch Secure System) configuration.
(A little hands-on configuration allows connection to non-AOSS
WiFi networks as well.) Internet access to Yahoo! news and
Yahoo! weather displays, RSS feeds, and major online photo
sharing services are another plus.

Remote content isn't your only choice; the VGF-CP1 will also
read and display media fresh from MemoryStick, SD, or
CompactFlash cards, as well as USB drives. You can also copy
pics into the CP1's internal 100MB memory and let the photo
frame take it from there - or even upload from the CP1 to online
photo sharing services.

Again, SONY provides a little marketing thought behind the
product: Everyone takes digital pictures, but not many enjoy and
share them. While 80% of PC users in this digital camera age
have photos squirreled away on hard drives or media cards, only
10% get around to frequently enjoying the photos via means such
as printing or online sharing. SONY wants to provide its
slideshow screen as an easy way for non-technical users to enjoy
the photos they take.

Details: 11b/g WiFi, 7' WVGA (800x480) 24-bit 'ClearPhoto LCD'
screen (16+ million colors), 17.7 x 13.4 x 3.3cm, 530g, black or
white. Designed to work with Windows XP/Vista PCs, or the
VGF-HS1 home server. Behind the scenes, the CP1 runs Timesys
Linux on a 400MHz ARM processor.

More info:


Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) If you've got one of several Canon digital camera models,
there's a free, open-source, and (reportedly) non-destructive
firmware upgrade that'll grant your camera impressive new
features: RAW image format handling, longer video times, more
on-screen info, super-fast and -slow shutter speeds, scripting,
and more. Learn more about, and get your hands on, the Canon
Hacker's Developer Kit here:
super+camera (English)

2) Osaka-based RUN'A is offering a new JPY9240 FM
radio/CD-player combo from the end of May. Boring, you say? Not
when the whole thing is shaped like the head of Disney's Stitch
character. Push the nose to open the mouth, place a CD on the
tongue, push the mouth closed again, and let the odd blue
creature blare tunes from his purple ear speakers. You control
playback, forward, etc. by pushing Stitch's teeth. Naturally. (Japanese)

3) From June, ever-creative GREEN HOUSE will offer the USB-based
GH-USB-FAN desktop fan in a retro design evocative of the
nostalgic mid-20th century Showa era. Drop JPY1980 and place a
bit of good ol' 'furuki yoki' Nippon next to your PC. Just in
time for warm weather.

--------NEW GADGET BLOG: TEKRONOMICON.COM------------------

In collaboration with Gadget Watch, Gadget blog Tekronomicon
offers a detailed look at select gadgets - shiny and strange,
from gizmo ground zero in Tokyo.
See the gadgets introduced in Gadget Watch,
with photos and more at:


Written by: Timm Tuttle
Gadget Watch online archive:
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