GW-316 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

Japan Inc Magazine Presents:

The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 316 Thursday October 03, 2008
Subscribers: 9467

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Canon builds HD video, 21 megapixels into EOS 5D Mark II

Name: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Category: digital SLR camera
Price: About JPY300,000
Release date in Japan: Late November, 2008

With all the light'n'easy digital SLRs coming out - the
Panasonic LUMIX G1, the Canon EOS Kiss F, the Pentax K-m, and
more - it's good to see a new release of pro-level heavy iron.
'Middle high class' iron, more specifically, to quote Canon's
positioning of its newly updated EOS 5D DSLR camera, the Mark

The key bragging points are two-fold: a 21-megapixel CMOS
sensor, and 30 fps full HD video recording. The former offers
about twice the pixels of the recent 'light' DSLRs (as you'd
expect from a camera in a much higher price range), churning out
shots in resolutions up to 5616x3744 pixels. Continuous shooting
is 3.9 fps.

The latter feature comes too late to claim 'first!' for video in
a DSLR; the Nikon D90 brought that to the world in early
September. But while the D90's video topped out at HD720p (1280
x 720 resolution), the 5D Mark II leaps to HD1080 (1920x1080).
Video is saved to Quicktime 1080p H.264 format. (As with the
Nikon, some restrictions apply: HD video shooting is limited to
12 minutes, and auto-focus is disabled.)

The camera's new Canon CMOS sensor handles ISO up to a whopping
25,600, for shooting in light so dim even owls give up and lie
down. Shutter speed is as fast as 1/8000 second. There's a
3-inch LCD display, with automatic brightness adjustment and 30
fps Live View mode for composition without use of the viewfinder
(useful for shooting from difficult positions). The EOS
Integrated Cleaning System repels and removes internal dust.
(The only major feature you might expect but won't find is a
built-in flash - sorry, the pros don't use those little lights.)
Weight without battery is 810 grams.

Expect to see the Mark II turning up soon in the hands of
photojournalists, wedding photographers, and other pros (as well
as the really serious hobbyists). With the 5D Mark II
representing 'middle high class', the 5D and 50D 'middle class',
and the kiss X2 and kiss F 'entry class', Canon expresses hope
that it'll grab 45% unit share of Japan's DSLR market in the
coming year.

More info (Japanese):
Panasonic LUMIX G1 (English):
Canon EOS Kiss F (English):
Pentax K-m (English):
The Silver Market Phenomenon: Business Opportunities
and Responsibilities in the Ageing Society

International Symposium on October 3 and 4

If you have been wondering how demographic change is going
to affect your business in Japan, find out more in this
international symposium by the German Institute for Japanese
Studies, United Nations University and Tokyo Institute of
Technology in Tokyo.
This is a unique opportunity to discuss Japan's silver market
phenomenon with renowned experts from around the globe and to
meet the inventor of 'Paro,' a robot for therapeutic treatment,
as well as the inventor of the Robot Suit HAL, Dr. Kawashima
from the worldwide success 'Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training'
and many more.

Space is limited, so register quickly.

For more details:
Or contact us by phone or e-mail:


The Tamagotchi goes color!

Name: Bandai Tamagotchi + Color
Category: digital toy
Price: JPY5040
Release date in Japan: November 22, 2008

Remember the Tamagotchi? Billions of digital Tamagotchi 'pets'
may have lived and died since Bandai released the toy in late
1996, but after all these years the gadget lives on. And now
it's going color.

Everyone recalls the Tamagotchi as a mega-hit fad. It's sold
tens of millions of units in over 30 countries. It's been seen
on TV's 'ER' medical drama, banned by school administrators as
an in-class distraction, blamed by psychologists for creating
'pet loss syndrome', and awarded an Ig Nobel Prize early in its
career for 'diverting millions of person-hours of work into the
husbandry of virtual pets'. But the initial explosive popularity
caught Bandai off-guard and unprepared to fill demand; the boom
ended just as the company ramped up production, and in FY1998
Bandai had to restructure as it sat on tons of unsold

While the Tamagotchi didn't keep the world's attention for too
long, Bandai has been nurturing it since into a staple product
line. There have been countless Tamagotchi versions, spin-off
products, video games, cartoons, and so on, while the core toy's
virtual world keeps growing in complexity. A key step forward
came in 2004: the Tamagotchi Connection added infrared
connectivity, letting owners' virtual pets 'meet' each other,
play games, exchange gifts, and even make tama-babies. The
upgrade sparked a modest resurgence for the toy that lasted
until another slump in 2007.

Evolution continues on November 22 when Bandai releases the
'Tamagotchi + Color', the first toy in the line with a color LCD
display. That makes the pets' little world not just prettier,
but more informative too: visual indicators of time, season, and
weather are much easier to show in color than in black and
white, says Bandai, as are richer character expressions.
(Weather and season matter, as the pets are scheduled to take
outdoor walks to the park and stores in their virtual world.)
Owners can also change colors and designs in the pets' rooms.
The toy's case will be available in 7 colors.

Not surprisingly, the color version will be a little bigger than
earlier models (6.5 cm tall, verses 5.3 for the original), and
more power-hungry too: the + Color ditches button batteries for
two AAAs. It's also a lot pricier: JPY5040, vs JPY1980 back in

Will Tamagotchi + Color spark a new generation of schoolkids
ignoring teacher to feed a Kuchibatchi? Or spur the original
Tamagotchi generation to check up on Memetchi during a boring
sales meeting? Stay tuned from late November.

More info (Japanese):

Written by: Timm Tuttle
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--------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:
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TAXAN KG-PL105S palmtop projector gives PC the boot

Category: projector
Price: About JPY140,000
Release date in Japan: Mid-October, 2008

'Mobile projectors' are generally defined as those under 2 kg in
weight. Tokyo-based Kaga Components, holder of the TAXAN brand
of projectors, goes well under that bar with the palmtop-sized
780-gram KG-PL105S. The projector's LED lamp, a first for a
TAXAN, not only saves weight but is energy eficient and
long-lasting: Kaga says its 'ecology projector' runs at an
economical 100W, and the light will last 20,000 hours. (Anyone
who's bought one of the hyper-expensive, mercury-containing
bulbs used by conventional projectors will appreciate that.)

The KG-PL105S's short-focus lens projects a 40-inch image
(800x600 pixels, 16 million colors, 140 lumens) from only 1.1
meters away - a closer (and thus brighter) distance than the 1.5
meters Kaga's previous mobile projectors require to achieve an
image that size.

The projector has a mini D-sub RGB connector for use with a PC
or DVD player, but you don't need to have external hardware
handy: the KG-PL105S can play a slideshow from images (such as
photos or slideshows converted to JPEG images) or play DivX
video from a thumbdrive in its USB port.

Early buyers get a freebie: a 20-inch folding portable screen.
Kaga will later release accessories including a 22-inch screen
and portable batteries.

This is not the smallest projector you could buy; the
pocket-sized Kairen YK Pro920 is only 190 grams (though at a wan
10 lumens, is a bit of a toy as well). And 140-lumen brightness
isn't all that bright, as the full-size projectors made for big
conference rooms typically run 2000 lumens and higher. But the
KG-PL105S sounds handy for small meeting rooms, temporary retail
displays, trade show presentations, and meetings on-the-go.

More info (Japanese):
Kairen YK Pro920 (English):


Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) Take the 'intelligent' car key, a wireless fob which allows
unlocking your car and starting the engine by simple proximity
to the vehicle. Build that functionality into a mobile phone.
That's the innovative gadget convergence which Nissan, NTT
Docomo and Sharp, stumped for a catchy name, have dubbed 'Mobile
Phone with Intelligent Key'. As long as you've got your phone
with you, the open road belongs to you and your Nissan. Simple
as that. The companies are rushing to put the concept into
More info (Japanese):

2) At Photokina in Germany last month, FUJIFILM announced its
upcoming 'FUJIFILM FinePix Real 3D System', an all-new
combination of two-lens 3D camera, 3D photo frame, and even 3D
printing, all with no funny glasses required. Both the camera's
display and the photo frame share 'light direction control
module' technology controlling image transmission to the
viewer's left and right eyes; the print technology appears to
attempt something similar with a 'fine pitch lenticular sheet'.
While we'll have to expect major limitations ('Don't tilt your
head!'), it'll be interesting to see what develops from this
concept when (or if) planned commercialization transpires in
Intro movie (Japanese):

3) GREEN HOUSE's GH-CRHC44 USB memory card reader has six card
slots that handle 44 types of card - all the common variants of
SD/SDHC, Compact Flash, MemoryStick, etc. What's the point of
44, when the ELECOM MR-A47H already works with 47? Well, the
GREEN HOUSE is a lot cheaper: JPY1380 vs JPY4410. On sale from
More info (Japanese):
ELECOM MR-A47H (English):
Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo-Seminar
- Tuesday, October 7th

Speaker: Einosuke Sumitani, CEO of Kids City Japan K.K.

Mr. Sumitani is the driving force behind the wildly
popular indoor amusement park, KidZania Tokyo.

He initially worked with Fujita Kanko K.K. and went on to
become a founding director at WDI Inc., which introduced
several U.S. restaurant chains to Japan, including Kentucky
Fried Chicken, Hard Rock Cafe and Spago.
It now operates more than 10 restaurant chains in the U.S.
and Japan.

Please sign up early while seats are available.

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 7th 7:00 pm
Location: Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
Language: English

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