Tokyo's Edge: February's Coolest Gadgets

Tokyo's Edge: February's Coolest Gadgets

Samsung F700

Packing both GSM and WCDMA, Samsung's touchscreen F700 handset will have people talking all over the world. In addition to its good looks, the phone boasts a 5 megapixel camera and can play back a number of video formats including MPEG4, H.263, H.264 and Real Video, as well as the audio formats MP3, AACplus, eAACplus and Real. There is also a surprise for people that can not get enough of mobile email: a QWERTY keyboard that slides out from behind the display. With such a feature set, some are already talking about Samsung's F700 as an iPhone-killer, but perhaps we should leave the iPhone killing until both are on the market.

No launch or pricing details have been announced.


Before Samsung took the wraps off the F700, its competitor, LG, showed a stylish phone of its own. The KE850 was designed with Italian fashion goods maker, Prada, and is dominated by a large touchscreen display. Prada not only had input on the phone's exterior but also on key elements of the user interface, including the touch screen, ring tones and pre-loaded content. The tri-band GSM KE850 is 99mm long, 54mm wide and 12mm thick. It will go on sale first in late February through Prada shops in the UK, France, Germany and Italy. In March it will begin appearing in stores in Asia including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, LG said. A version for the Korean market is due out in the second quarter.
The vendor has no plans to put it on sale in the US. RRP: $US775

Sony Series 501 Audio

Sony is targeting consumers at or near retirement age with a new home audio system that pairs high quality sound with a relatively low price and small size. The System 501 products consist of an amplifier, CD player and a pair of speakers. Sony said the price point was much cheaper than other products delivering the same audio quality. The amplifier and the CD player are both 28cm wide and 11cm high. The amplifier is 29cm deep and the CD player 27cm deep. That makes them suitable for use in small Japanese rooms. The audio products are expected to go on sale overseas later in the year. The Series 501 will be available in Japan in March. No international launch dates or prices were announced.
RRP: $US1945

Canon Ivis HV20

Canon has a new high-definition digital video camera to talk about. The Ivis HV20 features an image sensor that is more sensitive than that of the previous HV10 camcorder. The sensor can capture images in light conditions down to 3 lux. Other new features include a high-definition multimedia interface output for direct connection to an HDTV and a cinema shooting mode, which records at 24 frames per second to produce video that gives a feel closer to that of fi lm than of tape. The camera also has a 10X optical zoom and optical image stabilisation. The HV20 measures 88mm by 80mm by 138mm and weighs 535g. It will be available first in Japan and will be launched in North America, Europe and Asia in April.
RRP: $US1071

Toshiba G30/97A

Toshiba will begin selling its first laptop PC in the world with support for the write-once HD DVD-R optical disc format. The G30/97A will be an upgrade of existing models of Toshiba's hefty Qosmio G30 entertainment laptop. The computer is based on an Intel 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and has a 17-inch widescreen display with 1920 x 1280 pixel resolution, which means it can show high-definition images from HD DVD movie discs. The 4.8kg machine also features a 320GB hard disk drive, digital TV tuner and HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) output. It will run the Windows Vista Home Premium operating system and is available in Japan. International launch plans were not announced.
Toshiba has not announced a price for the computer.

Samsung Ultra 100

A phone so thin you can not see it? That is the silly claim Samsung made this month: "The Ultra Edition 5.9 (U100) is thin enough to disappear if turned on its side." Of course, that is not true but it does give you an idea of how thin the U100 is. At just 5.9mm, it is the thinnest cell phone yet developed. It has a 3 megapixel camera and is compatible with the GSM standard, but do not expect a 3G model. The candy-bar phone was joined by three other new handsets in the Ultra range: the Ultra 9.6 tri-band GSM clamshell model, the Ultra 10.9 quad-band GSM slider, and the Ultra 12.9 tri-band GSM and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access 3G slider with high-speed downlink packet access. The phones are all due to go on sale in Europe during the current quarter.
Pricing, as well as launch details for other markets, were not disclosed.

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