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

Issue No. 93
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

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

Name: Melco W17VS-ST
Category: AV
Price: 85,800 yen
Release date in Japan: end Feb 2003

The Gist: World famous consumer electronics company (come on, give 'em
a break!) Melco has announced a new LCD display. The W17VS-ST is a
17-inch Widescreen LCD panel with built-in TV tuner, kicking out a
1,280ラ768-dot maximum resolution image that is viewable in 170-degrees
in all directions (up, down, left and right). It's nice and bright at
450 cd/m2 with a contrast ratio of 600:1 and a response time of 25ms.
Friend-impressing functions include Picture in Picture (PIP) and a
display that sits on a tilting stand. Your sound comes from a pair of
3W speakers on either side of the display, and there are all the input
connection options you'd expect, including sockets for S-video,
components, composites and PCs. Says here it also comes bundled with a
remote control. If it didn't, it'd present a pretty interesting
challenge trying to switch channels, I'm guessing.

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Name: Pentax *ist D
Category: Digital cameras
Price: TBA
Release date in Japan: June 2003

The Gist: It's a bit of a digicam issue this week, starting with
Pentax's new baby. Christened the *ist D, the new arrival is a 6
megapixel digital camera that Pentax claims is also the world's
smallest, lightest body (we assume they mean for an inter-
changeable-lens digital camera) with dimensions of 129x60x95mm and
weighing only 510g. The mount is compatible with K, KA, KAF and KAF2
lenses and, via an adapter, 67- and 645-type screw-mount lenses. The
*ist D has a very particular look, but early tests seem to have met
with general approval and admiration.

The optical viewfinder is claimed to have a 95 percent field of view
with 0.95 percent magnification, and there's also a 1.8-inch LCD
panel/viewfinder on the camera. Functions include noise reduction, a
maximum 1/4,000 shutter speed, autofocus and everything you'd want
from a proper pro camera. The images are recorded onto either a Type
II Compact Flash Slot or a Microdrive. There's no price announcement
yet, but we think this could give the more established big digital
boys a run for their money.

More info:

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Name: Canon Powershot S50
Category: Digital cameras
Price: Open (But approx 70,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end March 2003

The Gist: Our next digicam is of the consumer variety; a 5-megapixel
beauty with a maximum shot resolution of 2,592x1,944 tiny dot things.
It'll also take 320x240 movies at 15 frames per second (still a bit
jerky -- your kids are going to look like mini Charlie Chaplins) and
has both an optical viewfinder and a 1.8-inch TFT LCD display. The
PowerShot series has always looked fantastic, and this model is no
exception, with plenty of brushed silver loveliness, a sliding lens
cover and a size small enough to whip out of a pocket at a party to
the delight of unsuspecting guests. The only problem is that Canon has
also announced the Ixy Digital 400 (see below), which is almost
impossible for mere humans to resist, despite the lower pixel count.

More info:

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Name: Canon Ixy Digital 400
Category: Digital cameras
Price: Open (but approx 60,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end of March 2003

The Gist: And here it is. We've always admired the exquisite styling
of the digital Ixy range from Canon, but the price of spending so much
time crafting its outer beauty meant that, inevitably, the tech specs
-- the pixel count in particular -- were always slightly behind the

But the new Ixy Digital is now a 4-megapixel digicam with a 3x optical
zoom. So there's no longer any excuse NOT to go right out and pick up
this sublimely beautiful piece of engineering. It's always been smart,
sexy and practically irresistible, but the hike to four megapixels
takes that "practically" and slam dunks it into the "no-brainer"
department. As an update to the 320, it's better looking, with a
classier, more expensive-looking finish complete with chrome plating,
so now you can trade the old love of your life in for a new model
without feeling even the tiniest bit guilty. You tried to resist, you
can tell your friends down at the bar, but it was no good. You are,
after all, only human.

More info:

Subscribers: 3,175 as of March 11, 2003

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

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