GW-315 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 315 Thursday September 25, 2008
Subscribers: 9467

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GREEN HOUSE releases GHV-DV24SD budget camcorder

Category: digital video/still camera
Price: About JPY12,800
Release date in Japan: Early October, 2008

Tokyo-based GREEN HOUSE introduces the GHV-DV24SD, a new
videocam entry in its GAUDI (Green house AUDIovisual) line of AV
products. Its sales proposition: acceptable video at a
dirt-cheap price, about JPY12,800.

The earlier GAUDI GHV-DV17SDS somehow hit an even lower price,
JPY9800. Pretty amazing for a video camera that on the surface
looks a lot like a one-hand, vertically-oriented compact camera
from a big-name maker. But that cam's generous-sized display
panel swung out to reveal a tiny 1.7-inch screen on the other
side (smaller than many mobile phone screens), its internal
memory was only 16MB, its zoom was 4x digital, and its 30fps
video capture maxed out at VGA resolution (640x480) - not too

For JPY19,800, you could move up to the horizontally-oriented
GHV-DV30SDS, which brought 32MB memory, 16x digital zoom, and a
nice 3-inch display, but not much else - still the same VGA

The new GHV-DV24SD takes the middle ground between the two
earlier entries: the 4x digital zoom of the one, the 32MB
internal memory of the other, and a display that splits the
difference at 2.4 inches. Its raison d'etre is improved video:
D1 resolution (720x480), the standard for regular DVD video. The
addition of image stabilization further improves video quality.

That's still a far cry from the glorious HD video now the norm
in camcorders. The 32MB of memory, shared with the camcorder OS,
is next to useless for video; all of the GAUDI camcorders are
made to use SD memory cards (up to 2GB) for actual shooting.
Further, the cam's digital zoom isn't 'real' (optical) zoom. Its
focus is fixed (with a single switch for closer macro shooting).
Yet not all the basic amenities are missing: there's a
microphone/speaker and a voice recording mode, headphone jack,
AV input/output, a flash, MP3 playback, and 5-megapixel still

Okay, so the tech specs aren't exciting, but this one's all
about price. At only JPY12,800 and 136 grams, do you want to be
without a camcorder in your walkabout bag?

More info (Japanese):

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Pentax announces K-m for DSLR beginners (and mama)

Name: Pentax K-m
Category: digital SLR camera
Price: About JPY60,000 (body only)
Release date in Japan: Late October, 2008

Hoya Corporation's Pentax Imaging Systems Division adds to the
growing range of lighter, simpler digital SLR (DSLR) cameras
coming out of Japan, with the entry-class K-m. Less expensive
than the maker's existing K20D and K200D models, the K-m puts an
'm' in its name to denote 'mini', 'micro', and - says Pentax -

The 10-megapixel camera has the tech features you'd expect from
a DSLR in 2008: Shake Reduction (special lenses not required), a
dust removal system for the large (23.5x15.7mm) CCD image
sensor, a big 2.7-inch LCD panel, RAW and JPEG formatting, and
'digital filters' to apply special effects to photos. Features
aimed specifically at DSLR newcomers include newly-simplified
controls, Auto Picture selection of shooting mode (with a new
ability to automatically select Night Scene Portrait mode), and
use of 4 regular AA batteries. There's a 5-point Auto Focus
system and automatic ISO setting (100 to 3200) as well. Storage
is SD/SDHC memory card.

All in all, it's a good basic package, with nothing outstanding:
no radical move to a digital viewfinder, no 'live view' preview,
no swivel mount on the LCD display, and so on. The biggest
attraction is not tech, but size: with a chassis redesigned to
shed bulk, the K-m body is only 525 grams (over 100g less than
the K200D) and only 122.5 mm wide. Pentax says that's the
smallest width in any DSLR, beating even the Panasonic LUMIX and
its compact Micro Four Thirds build.

Pentax is introducing two new lightweight, plastic-mount lenses
to go with the K-m: the 200-g DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL and the
235-g telephoto DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED. A K-m kit with the
former lens will run about JPY70,000; with both lenses,

More info (Japanese):


Trio of new portable DVD players

Portable DVD players aren't too compelling for all-day computer
users, but they can be a big help at times - namely, quelling
the kiddies' screams in cars, airports, and so on. Here's a
recent trio of market entrants, ready for that five-hundredth
viewing of The Little Mermaid. (As well as digital broadcast
recorded to DVD; they're all equipped to handle CPRM content

Nippon Polaroid KK offers the DPJ-08546WBB player with 16:9
(widescreen) ratio 8.5-inch screen on a swivel mount. Bundled
accessories include car headrest holder, remote control,
headphones, and AC and car power adapter. Formats handled
include DVD, CD, JPEG, MPEG and DivX. DVD playback time is about
2.5 hours after a 5-hour charge. 930 grams. JPY26,800 from
More info (Japanese):

GREEN HOUSE brings us the GAUDI GHV-PDV751ST, with widescreen
ratio 7-inch screen, One-seg TV tuner, antenna, SD memory card
slot, AC adapter and car power adapter. It'll handle video,
audio, and images: MPEG1/MPEG2/Xvid/MP3/JPEG, DVD, CD, CD-R/RW,
DVD±R/RW, DVD+R DL, and more. DVD playback time is about 2.5
hours after a 3.5-hour charge. 824 grams. JPY22,800 from late
More info (Japanese):

Finally, Tokyo-based BLUEDOT gives us the BDP-2705WD, with
widescreen 7-inch display and faux wood-paneled body. Formats
handled include DVD, DVD±R/RW, CD-R/RW, DivX, MP3, and JPEG.
Features include SD/SDHC memory card slot, 27-second commercial
skip button (for disk recordings of TV shows), double headphone
jacks, remote control, and LED screen backlighting that BLUEDOT
claims raises playback time to 5 hours. 680 grams. JPY26,000
from October 10.
More info (Japanese):


Trouble Watch

Product recalls and other goofs:

Who: Fuji Film
What: Battery chargers (BC-50) with lot numbers WCAA and WCAB,
for the FinePix F100fd and F50fd cameras
Why: Breakage
What to do: Call 0120-611-277 in Japan
More info (Japanese):

Who: Apple Computer
What: USB power adapter for iPhone 3G, in North America, Japan,
and several Latin American countries
Why: Prongs can break off in power outlet
What to do: Follow online instructions
More info (English):


Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) It's half an inch smaller than the GREEN HOUSE GH-JEF223SH
display introduced last time, but LG Electronics Japan's new
W2261V-PF display undercuts its rival's price considerably - and
beats some tech specs too: its display has full-HD 1920x1080
resolution and a contrast ratio up to 20,000:1. With HDMI,
DVI-D, and regular mini D-sub 15-pin connectors. About
JPY30,000, from early October.
Press release (Japanese):

2) Desktop PC speakers don't have to be cheap little plastic
things. Sanwa Supply's new MM-SPWD5 is a pair of 2-channel,
3-inch 14W speakers in 18-cm high wood cabinets. In front are a
headphone jack, microphone jack, and separate controls for
tweaking high- and low-frequency output. In back is a stereo
mini plug input, letting you play sound from an external device
(like audio player) while staying connected to your PC's audio
output. The power unit is contained inside, so there's no huge
AC adapter to litter the floor. JPY8820 from late September.
More info (Japanese):

3) Stunning video, pristine audio - and the luxurious feel of
leather. Now that's multimedia! To celebrate domestic sales of
over 500 million DVD media disks, Hitachi Maxell is set to
release DVD-R/-RW media whose label side is coated with a
leather-like material. (A blank stripe running through the faux
cowhide provides space to write disk information.) A box of 10
disks (in five colors) will run JPY1200 from October 25.
More info (Japanese):
Written by: Timm Tuttle
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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:
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