Tokyo's Edge: March's Coolest Gadgets

Tokyo's Edge: March's Coolest Gadgets

Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc Player

This Blu-ray disc player is about $US400 cheaper than Sony's current BDP-S1. It can send out video at 24 frames per second, which is the rate used for films. Doing so is said to provide an image closer to that of film than of video. The device also up-converts lower quality signals to 1080P for output over the HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) connector. The BDP-S300 works with Bravia Theatre Sync, a system that more closely integrates the control of the player with that of the TV. Sony has not announced the player for other markets beyond the US.

RRP: About $US600

Sharp BD-HP1 Blu-ray Disc Recorder

Considering the relatively high-cost of Blu-ray disc recorders, anything that reduces the price is welcome. But Sharp's latest recorder does away with something that has previously been essential: the TV tuner. Instead, the BD-HP1 can use the tuner along with Sharp Aquos LCD TV sets. The device hooks up via iLink (IEEE1394) and can power just their tuner, so the entire set does not have to be switched on to make recording possible. But it does mean users can not record one channel while watching another. It is available in Japan. A similar model is due to go on sale overseas later this year. Sharp has yet to determine the exact timing, markets or pricing.
RRP: $US1260
Web: (Japanese)

Nikon Coolpix S500 Digital Still Camera

Nikon has updated its Coolpix range of digital still cameras. Chief among the new models is the 7.1 megapixel Coolpix S500, which boasts several points over competing compact cameras with optical image stabilisation, according to Nikon. The camera is ready to take a picture in an industry-beating 0.6 seconds from the power button being pushed, has the fastest shutter release lag time of 0.005 seconds, and the most compact body, the vendor said. It measures 88mm x 51mm x 22mm. It will be available in Japan.
RRP: $US251

Sony NW-A800 Video Walkman

Finally, Sony has stepped up to the plate with a Walkman that supports video. Eighteen months after its rival, Apple, raised the bar with its video iPod, the NW-A800 arrives. There are three models: the NW-A805, A806 and A808. The only major difference is in the amount of fl ash memory, which is 2GB, 4GB and 8GB, respectively. The screen is a 2-inch LCD panel with QVGA resolution (240 pixels by 320 pixels). It is orientated in portrait form rather than the landscape form used on the iPod, but videos can be viewed with the device either held vertically or horizontally.

Sharp EM-One PDA

A widescreen Windows Mobile-based PDA and flat-rate 3G data service is what is on offer from Sharp and a new mobile carrier in Japan. The EM-One sports a full QWERTY keyboard, runs Windows Mobile 5.0 and has a 4.1-inch widescreen with WVGA (800 pixels by 480 pixels) resolution. It is compatible with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) data service that offers download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps and also comes with 802.11b/g Wireless LAN, Bluetooth and a tuner for Japan's mobile digital television broadcasts. Depending on the service plan, it will not be available through other carriers or in other countries but Japan.
RRP: from $US336
Web: (Japanese)

Sony T100 Digital Still Camera

Sony is aggressively promoting high-definition televisions (HDTVs) to consumers and soon it will have a range of digital still cameras to match. Many of the company's new Cybershot cameras, which will hit global markets in April, offer an output for HDTVs. Most current digital cameras support the ability to view pictures on a television set, but this is almost always at standard definition, which is close to VGA resolution of 640 pixels by 480 pixels. More often than not, the original image is much higher quality, so a better image could be displayed on an HDTV if the camera were capable of generating such a video image. That is what Sony has enabled its new Cybershot cameras to do. Among the models is the flagship T100, which combines a slim body with an optical 5X zoom and 8.1 megapixel class image sensor. It has a 3-inch display and will be available in Japan and the US.
RRP: $US400

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