GW-58 -- Olympus MIC-D

J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos From Japan

Issue No. 58

Thursday, May 16, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

In last week's GW, I wrote that the Nokia 3300 was compatible with all
PDC, cdmaONE and GSM networks. This is, of course, nonsense. There is
no such 'uber phone' available from Nokia, or anyone else for that
matter. So sorry, my mistake, but I can assure you that there is a
very good reason for the error: I'm an idiot [Steady on Max! --
Editor]. Where the release actually said "the phone is GSM compatible,
for use in countries where PDC and cdmaONE are not available", I
simply ignored that completely. Being an idiot.
Sorry again -- especially to Montgomery MacKenzie, manager, Digital
Services at Nokia, who was quick to correct me and has probably been
suffering a lot of unwanted inquiries as a result. And when I said you
could change the covers if you disliked Nokia's efforts, I meant of
course their original cover that comes with the phone when you buy it.

Name: Olympus MIC-D
Category: IT
Price: TBA
Release date in Japan: June 3, 2002

The Gist: It's not often something like this comes up - the MIC-D is
not a hip new burger from the fast food giant but, in fact, a digital
microscope from Olympus.
You can zoom in on a dissected frog or that putrefying Petri dish and
-- with the aid of your laptop computer and the MIC-D's USB socket --
have the image displayed instantly onscreen all ready for digital
manipulation. Finished in a laboratory-friendly plain white with a
1/3in CMOS color digital camera and blue-colored adjuster stem, the
MIC-D comes as part of the wave of IT-related products that
are infiltrating education and the classroom and, we hope, making it
all easier and more fun in the process. Students gain a 13x optical
zoom and a high quality digital viewfinder eyepiece that Olympus
claims will bring new joy to peering at really, really tiny things. If
nothing else, the MIC-D makes the microscope business more accessible
and easier to use than ever before and the specialized software will
allow the students to save, edit and print out their findings in all
their 310,000-pixel VGA (640x480) glory.
It would have taken more than a digital microscope to make my high
school science lessons more fun, but one can but hope.

More info:

.JP - Japan's Hot New Domain Extension

.JP is UNRESTRICTED, and since its release last year, has experienced
explosive registration volume. But why? Businesses and individuals
looking to develop their online presence in Japan, were, for the past
10 years effectively shutout because of the heavy restrictions of
This pent-up demand is finally now being satisfied by the unrestricted
.JP. Another important factor is Japan's role as the second largest
economy in the world, and a major center of business, arts, and
entertainment. Consumers here are becoming more savvy and WANT local,
easily recognizable domains for Japanese products and services. .JP
satisfies this need.
Go to to register your .JP Domain, or to
become a .JP reseller.

Name: NEC Mitsubishi RDF223G/H, RDF193H & RDF173H
Category: Monitors
RDF223G: 248,000 yen
RDF223H: 198,000 yen
RDF193H & RDF173H: TBA
Release date in Japan: June 2002

The Gist: NEC Mitsubishi Electrical has just announced four new
Diamondtron M2 monitors employing Aperture Grill (AG) pitches to
produce virtually flat screens and boasting the highest luminosity
ratings in the industry, at 170cd/m.
All the steely, silver two-tone monitors have been designed by
consultants IDEO Japan -- not, by the look of it, the most challenging
task in the world; kind of like designing shoeboxes. Anyhow, the
flagship RDG223G monster produces a 22in 1,800 x 1,350 display which
is one better than UXGA (Ultra Extended Graphics Array). That's a very
big CRT, by the way. The other three AG flat screens knock out UXGA
resolutions (1600 x 1200) and have the added advantage
of not weighing the 29.3 kg of the 223G.

More info:

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Name: Victor RM-A250
Category: AV
Price: 3,500 yen
Release date in Japan: June 1, 2002

The Gist: There's nothing worse than handing over a pocketbook full of
cash at your local electronics store for a very expensive, very
smart-looking piece of lustworthy technical wizardry only to open up
the box at home and find a crappy, poorly laid out, design disaster
excuse for a remote control fall limply to the floor.
There goes your attempt to impress the laydeez. Happily, Victor is
attempting to redress the situation with the new RM-A250. Available in
blue or silver, the RM-A250s are a brace of lovely, transparent-style
touch panel remote control units for use with your TV or VTR. The
sleek new remotes are compatible with the televisions of 14 different
manufacturers and have very simple, easy-to-read displays. They'll
work from up to five meters away and go for six months on a single

More info:

BiOS knows data centers. Why? For years our expert
IT engineers have been servicing clients in almost every
data center in Tokyo. We know them from inside and out.
That is why we have recently created our own. It is the
only 21st Century purpose-built data center in town. or phone +81-3-3499-2499.
Further info from

Name: Canon IXY DV 3
Category: Digital camcorder
Price: Approx 130,000 yen
Accessory kit (battery pack, charger, 8MB SD memory card, interface
cable and software): 28,000 yen
Release date in Japan: End of May 2002

The Gist: The word 'IXY' has translated to 'stupidly small' for some
time now and, of course, this new digital camcorder rendition is no
Made to be as attractive and as simple to operate as humanly possible,
the IXY DV carries on the proud tradition by weighing only 440g with
the battery pack clipped on and measuring 50x89x111mm. The attractive
part is achieved with a silver finish accented with blue bits, giving
the camera a passing resemblance to Sony's DCR-IP55 Network Handycam,
which is certainly no bad thing.
The tiny IXY DV camcorder has only a 680,000-pixel CCD on board, which
is a little low compared with some of the latest offerings from
competitors, but those looks and the 130,000 yen price tag means it's
likely to appeal to the novice end of the market anyhow. Users can
record both to tape and to an SD memory card (getting 340,000-pixel
moving images on the tape and 630,000-pixel still images on the card).

More info:

Name: Sony PCG-GRX81G/P
Category: PC
Price: Open, but approx 370,000 yen for the PCG-GRX81G/P and 320,000
yen for the PCG-GRX71
Release date in Japan: May 25, 2002

The Gist: As yet another A4-sized notebook PC coming to market, I
wouldn't normally cover the Vaio Note GR. Particularly since
Sony, like Apple, tends to release new machines about as regularly as
the rest of us change our socks.
But the PCG-GRX81G/P allows users to watch and record TV programs,
comes with LightWave 3D Express graphics design software and is an
absolute beast of a machine. The top of the range model is powered by
a 1.7GHz Mobile Pentium 4 CPU, a massive 512MB of DDR RAM and houses
a 16in UXGA display, 40GB hard disk and a great DVD/CD-RW combo drive.
There are 2 Type II PC card slots on the actual machine, along with a
Magic Gate Memory Stick slot, a 100Base-TX Ethernet port, a V.90
modem, 3 USB ports, a 4-pin IEEE1394 port, AV out, a printer port and
a D-Sub15 socket. It is one of the more weighty Vaios available,
weighing in at 3.8 kg. The bundled port replicator docking station,
which clips neatly onto the rear of the notebook, brings infra-red,
S-video and composite capabilities to the party, as well as a TV
tuner and MPEG-2 encoder (MPEG2 R-Engine).
Recording and playback is effected via the Giga Pocket LE software,
also included, with a choice of high quality (8Mbps) and normal
quality (4Mbps) recording modes, both at 30 frames per second. Perhaps
the desktop PC really is dead.

More info:

P.S. If you're in the market for a plasma screen but really just want
to see one "in the flesh", so to speak, before you buy, you could head
down to the American Chamber of Commerce in Kamiyacho and check out
the Hitachi CMP4121HD 42in plasma screen installed there. The
screen is running in combo with a PictureTel videoconferencing system,
so business users can get a good idea how well it all works together.
Thanks to Hunter Brumfield, manager of Face-to-Face Communications,
for that.

Subscribers: 2,164 as of May 16, 2002

Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J Mark Lytle (

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