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

Issue No. 78

Friday, October 11, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

Name: Sony SDM-P232W
Category: AV
Price: Open (but approx 360,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: October 12, 2002

The Gist: It's not as big as Sharp's, but then it's not always the
size that counts. Or so my mate Dave says. Adding yet another
abbreviaton to our extensive tech-head vocabulary, Sony's new
SDM-P232W is a "WUXGA" (1920x1200 dot), which I'm guessing stands for
"Wide Ultra Extended Graphics Array." It's a beauty whatever the hell
its name actually means. A 23-inch LCD panel, The P232W (W meaning
wide? Throw me a bone here, Sony!) has a 40ms response time, a
contrast ratio of 300:1 and a 160 degree viewing angle. With a new
digital image processor to minimize signal degradation, both analog
and digital inputs and "Advanced Digital Smoothing" wizardry to reduce
jaggies and clean up the image, Sony will no doubt get customers
flocking to their dedicated, vastly overpriced outlets all over town
to snap up this admittedly fine looking specimen of LCD loveliness.

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Name: Kenwood
Category: Car music
Price: 52,500 yen
Release date in Japan: mid October 2002

The Gist: The DPX-5300M is a "variable color display car stereo" with
built in CD, MD and FM/AM tuner and if it doesn't really plumb the
depths of consumer gullibility, I don't know what does. The big fuss
is about its fantastic range of 12 display colors, which users can
select to match their mood that day. And, even worse, the display can
move through the color range seamlessly in "color scan mode" at the
touch of a button. The system sports a three-band, 13-point
"Parametric Equalizer" to provide a full acoustic range and a nice,
rich sound stage, and the MD player is MDLP compatible. The amp
produces a maximum of 47W into four channels and weighs 2.2kg (in case
your car dashboard is made of balsa wood). Now, we're not faulting
Kenwood here, because the company's car audio kit is, generally
speaking, pretty darn good, but why on earth would anyone want a car
stereo with a variable color display? What IS the world coming to?

More info:

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Name: Fujitsu Maron-1
Category: Robots
Price: n/a
Release date in Japan: n/a

The Gist: Don't know about you, but when I think of owning a home
robot, I think back to Rocky III when Balboa was all pals with Apollo
Creed and had just moved into his nice, big new house. Like all
red-blooded males, Rocky's first thought was to splash loads of cash
and get himself a robot. Obviously. It talked, it walked (sort of) and
it did the household chores. And now that dream has come true, sort
of, because we have the Maron-1 from Fujitsu, which might be named
after an edible nut but is, in fact, made of solid metal and not
something you should try to eat. Controllable with your mobile phone
and able to interact with and operate domestic appliances, the Maron-1
could get very cozy with your microwave in no time at all if you leave
them in a room together. S/he can also move around all over your home,
avoiding obstacles and generally making sure it stays out of the way.
Being demonstrated at the WPC Expo at Tokyo Big Sight from the 16th of
this month, Maron-1 is part of Fujitsu's plan to make products that
improve and assist owners' daily lives. One of the best functions,
like NEC's PaPeRo and R100 before it, is to also act as an intruder
alarm, detecting foreign bodies in your house (!) and calling your
mobile to alert you. Perched atop the boxy little robot are two very
bulbous and frankly scary "eyes" that are, of course, actually two
cameras that can move up, down, left and right taking pictures and, if
you want, sending them to your mobile phone. Proud new parents of the
Maron-1 can "interface" with their dumpy little tyke by way of a
touchpad, all manner of menu and other switches and the 4-inch TFT LCD
screen. Just think of the fun you could have, loading the layout of
your apartment into the robot's memory and then having it trundle over
into the kitchen to scare the bejeezus out of your cat. Or sending it
into the lounge to check the VCR and make sure it's started to record
the right TV program. Operating on Windows CE3.0, Maron-1 also has a
USB port and PC card slot. The internal battery is rechargable and
should have him running around for about 12 hours. The little chap is
only 32x36x32cm size-wise and weighs just 5kg.

More info:


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Name: Sony CLIE
Category: PDA
Price: Open (but approx 60,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: October 19, 2002

The Gist: Another day, another Clie. In an attempt at total market
saturation in the space of the lifespan of a small household pet, Sony
is releasing two more models in its Clie PDA range. Both new Clies
come pre-loaded with the new Palm 5.0 operating system and -- the big
draw -- can be used wirelessly with the PEGA-WL100 LAN card. The
PEG-NX70V is the flagship model and the PEG-NX60 a touch cheaper. Both
have 3.8 inch widescreen, color TFT LCD panels capable of 65,536
colors for displays and a "hardware keyboard," but the NX70V also
boasts a 300,000-pixel digital camera attachment. Better still, the
more expensive model comes in a limited-edition graphite gray color
casing. Powered by a 200 Mhz, PXA250 CPU, the Clie is totally
multimedia ready, has both Compact Flash and Memory Stick slots for
expansion and benefit from an "open and turn" design, whereby the PDA
folds open normally and the LCD screen can then be turned right around
and back on itself through 180 degrees. Just like on several of Sony's
Cybershot cameras, the lens on the PEG-NX70V's digital camera can be
turned through 260 degrees, which my mate Dave tells me is great for
taking clandestine shots of lovely young ladies on the Yamanote Line.
Not that I'd know. The PEGA-WL100 wireless LAN card is a Type II
Compact Flash card using IEEE802.11b at a frequency of 2.4 Ghz.

More info:

14-17 January 2003, Tokyo, Japan
As with our hugely successful 2002 event, 3GMobile World Forum 2003
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For further information, visit:

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Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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