J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
A Free Newsletter Covering the Latest Cool Stuff in Japan

Issue No. 32
Thursday, October 11, 2001

Note: So CEATEC has come and gone and, sure enough, the place was groaning
with the weight of incongruous silver boxes with wondrously new and sexy
technology secreted within. A good deal of the kit on show has been seen or
at least announced before (much of it here, many moons ago), particularly
the LCD and OEL displays and HDD or DVD recorders, but there was a lot of
cool, new stuff too. 3G loomed large, but that'll doubtless be amply
covered by our own wireless and mobile guru, Daniel Scuka. OEL too,
promises much, with continually improving specs and increasingly larger
screens possible. Soon, no doubt, we'll have forgotten all about LCD...


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Name: Rampage MDX- J5WM radio cassette player
Category: A/V
Price: open (all)
Release date in Japan: MDX-J5WM mid-November, 2001
(MDX-J3 S/L/B, end-October, 2001)

The Gist: We like our world and industry firsts here at Gadget Watch (hang
on, surely they're the same thing?), so please welcome Kenwood's latest
entry into the short-lived category, the MDX- J5WM radio cassette player.
Not your usual shoulder-mounted boombox, the MDX- J5WM can play back not
only your CD-R/RW discs, but also MP3 and WMA-coded files that you've
burned. That's the industry first, and it's pretty darn handy for the more
persistent liberals who are soldiering on after the demise of Napster and
the consistent industry attempts at cracking down on the copying and
transfer of such music files. Surely destined for the surf set, the
supremely portable player (4.7kg) sits at the top of Kenwood's
Rampage-branded line and is also a CD, MD, and tape player with a radio
bunged in for good measure. The Rampage series is noted for its rugged,
metallic appearance and funky design and the J5WM keeps up the good looks.

More info:


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Name: Matsushita Digital Hi-Vision Optical Disc Recorder
Price: n/a
Release date in Japan: n/a

The Gist: Panny is becoming quite the innovator these days. We covered the
company's (consumer-willing) revolutionary DMR-HS1 combined hard disk and
DVD recorder/player last week and now, at CEATEC, it unveils the future of
recording and the successor to DVD: blue laser technology. The recorder on
display was gorgeously sleek and minimalist, massively chunky and looked
like it'd take five people to lift, but obviously reps on the stand were
pretty vague on the more practical details. Nevertheless, blue laser
optical recording, widely believed to be the Next Big Thing, is here at
last, and promises great things. Thanks to a newly developed "dual-layer
phase change RAM disc," up to 50Gb of information can be stored on a single
12cm platter, twice the capacity of the single layer optical discs (23Gb)
developed by Panasonic's competitors. The use of blue laser technology
allows recordings to be made at five times higher density (0.3 micron) than
DVD-video. What this means in English is that you can pack a whole lot more
recording into the same space. Up to 4 hours' worth of super high quality
digital high vision images, in fact, which is quite a leap over even
DVD-RAM, which can only manage about an hour of recording on its
single-sided 4.7Gb discs at the highest quality settings. Blue lasers are

More info:

Name: Microsoft
Category: Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer
Price: 9,800 yen RRP
Release date in Japan: October 26, 2001

The Gist: Most of the gadgets you read about here are products developed by
Japanese companies and released first here in Japan. Every now and then,
however, it's worth noting the entry of something into the Japanese market
which is produced by an overseas company, and in this respect, the arrival
of Microsoft's Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer deserves mention. Any gizmo
going cable free, in my opinion, is a godsend and love 'em or hate 'em,
Microsoft knows how to make a mouse. The wireless version of the
IntelliMouse Explorer has redesigned finger grooves so you can get a better
grip and, as with the other IntelliMouse products, features IntelliEye
technology so you can use the thing on practically any surface. The two wee
AA batteries should provide months of use before replacing and since it
works on a radio frequency, the mouse can be used up to six feet away from
the receiver. It does loads of other tricks, and you can use it on a PC or
Mac Magic.

More info:


Written by Max Everingham (
Edited by Bruce Rutledge (

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Copyright (C) 2001 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.