We’ve been waiting to enjoy the promised extra detail and low power consumption of IGZO-based LCD panels for a few years now, and they’re finally starting to appear. The latest on the docket is Sharp’s new PN-K321 monitor, built for professional use with 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160) plus HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, and what Sharp claims is the industry’s thinnest frame at just 35mm thick. With an expected price of 450,000 yen or so (about $5,500 US) when it debuts in February 2013 it’s still too pricey for our desks but if you’re doing CAD work you may be able to design a budget it can fit into. We’re seeing them in phones, tablets and now monitors overseas, here’s hoping we’ll see plenty of these high pixel density yet power-sipping panels with US release dates at CES in January.
Sharp may look like it’s in trouble, but that’s not stopping it bringing new displays to the market, including today’s announcement of the AQUOS Quattron 3D XL TV line. Behind the mouthful of acronyms, these LED-backlit LCD panels are the first to feature Sharp’s Moth-Eye technology, designed to reduce glare and pump out bright colors, as well as a deep black. The company’s ‘four primary color’ tech is partly responsible for the rich output, which squeezes a yellow sub-pixel in with the standard R, G and B. All the panels run at 1,920 x 1,080, as you’d expect, sport a 10 million to 1 contrast ratio and use five speakers to deliver audio. Prices aren’t fixed, but the 46-, 52- and 80-inch models will be released in Japan on December 15th, while the 60- and 70-inch variants will come slightly earlier, on November 30th. You’re going to have to be quick on launch day, though — only 10,000 units are expected to be available in the first month.
Don’t think that Lenovo is keeping the IdeaPad Yoga’s bendy secrets all to itself: its Japanese partner NEC is bringing a variant of the ARM-based Yoga 11 to the land of the rising sun as the LaVie Y. The 11.6-inch blend of laptop and tablet keeps the signature 360-degree display, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as its more internationally-minded counterpart, and confirms that there’s a quad-core Tegra 3 powering either of the Windows RT systems. What differences exist will stem from the software: there’s hints of a custom NEC app on an otherwise vanilla interpretation of Microsoft’s platform. The LaVie Y should precede its IdeaPad sibling by days, arriving in stores around November 22nd, although any local buyers will pay dearly for the privilege with an estimated $1,136 price. We’d suggest that patience ought to be a virtue for everyone else.
Fujitsu has just revealed its Windows 8 lineup for the Japanese market, and top billing goes to the new “Floral Kiss” Ultrabook, which the manufacturer claims was built “under the direction” of its female employees in order to an entice an equally female audience. At heart, it’s just a regular Core i5 notebook with a 500GB hard drive, but the womanliness is all in the presentation. There are subtle color schemes like “feminine pink” and “luxury brown” to choose from and every laptop comes with pre-installed Windows 8 apps including a digital scrapbook for collecting website bookmarks, a diary and a daily horoscope checker. This almost oppressively enticing bundle will hit stores on November 2nd, with some sort of premium designer version arriving a few weeks later. As for the exact price, that’ll be determined by retailers in Japan and by how good your husband is at haggling.
We’ve been hearing about a certain 5-inch HTC phablet for Verizon since July, but it looks like its Japanese counterpart may actually hit the market first. Unveiled by KDDI as the HTC J Butterfly (HTL21), this Android 4.1 device is the first announced phone to feature a 5-inch, 440ppi full-HD “Super LCD 3″ panel, and it’s fittingly complemented by a 1.5GHz quad-core APQ8064 underneath, making this the latest member in the small family of Snapdragon S4 Pro phones. There’s an eight-megapixel camera that naturally handles 1080p video at the back, accompanied by a 2.1-megapixel front-facing imager. Other details include 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSDHC expansion, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), NFC, LTE and CDMA/GSM/UMTS/GPRS radios — that’s right, it’s a global device. Not bad for a 140g package, and it’s waterproof as well, rated at IPX5. But the question is how well will the 2,020mAh battery last under that super dense LCD and high-end processor? Only time will tell — even KDDI has yet to finalize this part of the specs. Folks on the KDDI network can grab hold of this powerful phone in early December, with a choice of red, white or black.
We got a look at Fujitsu’s Arrows Tab at CEATEC last year, and the 10.1-inch tablet is making an appearance yet again — this time running Windows 8 rather than Android Honeycomb. Exact specs were MIA, but the slate sports a front-facing camera along with a rear-facing shooter, plus a micro-USB port and a microSD card slot. Rather than the shiny plastic backing we saw last year, this device has a slightly textured, metallic finish, and it sports much sharper corners than the earlier version’s more curved design.
A booth worker did confirm that the Arrows Tab is waterproof like last year’s model, and while he wouldn’t provide exact availability, he said the tablet will launch within the October-November time frame. Last year’s Arrows Tab F-01 LTE debuted on NTT DoCoMo, and given Japan’s penchant for hydrophobic gadgets, it’s safe to say that the device will be targeted at this country in particular. Head past the break for a quick video hands-on.
Now we’re intrigued. It’s a common (if unconfirmed) belief that the next iPhone will support LTE-based 4G, but the Wall Street Journal now understands through the ever-present “people familiar with the matter” that Apple is taking 4G worldwide. Where the current iPad only supports two LTE frequencies and drops to HSPA+ outside of the US and Canada, the new iPhone will supposedly cover parts of Asia and Europe as well. The exact countries haven’t been outlined, although it’s easy to imagine Apple going for those countries where 4G speeds matter the most: there’s been rumblings of talks with KT and SK Telecom in South Korea, but we could also see France, Germany, Japan and Scandiavian countries in the mix. The rumor hasn’t been confirmed, of course. That said, the iPhone was already purported to be using a new cellular chipset — and a number of carriers, most often in the US, have long said they won’t carry new smartphones unless LTE is part of the package. We’ll know the full scoop on Wednesday.
While Sony’s current lineup of HDTVs has so far topped out with the HX929/920 series that’s been kicking around since 2011, in Japan it has just unveiled a new top of the line model: the HX950. Often rumored in the last few months, it’s available in 65- or 55-inch varieties and features Sony’s now-trademark monolithic style as well as “Intelligent Peak LED” backlighting. Although Sony’s brand name for the tech doesn’t exactly reveal how it works, information leaks have suggested it is full array LED backlighting and not edge based, although we don’t know how many zones (individually controlled light sources) are in play. What we do know, however is that it claims to outperform the LED backlighting in the old 929 quite handily, although we’ll let our eyes be the judge of that.
It also includes MotionFlow XR960 (800 in the US) motion processing tech that can create 240fps from 60 frames and a glass panel mounted to the LCD itself with a special type of resin designed specifically to reduce glare. Finally, there’s also the usual add-ins like 3D and Sony Entertainment Network streaming video. We haven’t seen any European or US information for this model yet, although with IFA 2012 under way and CEDIA coming up that may change quickly. Currently pricing in Japan for the 65-inch is expected to be around 650,000 yen or $8,269 when it ships November 10th, but we should mention actual US prices are typically much lower than a direct conversion. Unofficially, one retailer is already listing the 55- and 65-inch models for sale in the US for $3,499 and $5,499, respectively, although we’d take that with a grain of salt until we know for sure.
While we’re still waiting for Toshiba to deliver its top of the line 55X3 HDTV with 4K resolution and glasses-free 3D technology here in the US, it just announced a step-down model in Japan. The Regza 55XS5 keeps the 3840 x 2160 LCD panel, but switches to edge LED lighting instead of local dimming and drops 3D altogether, autostereoscopic or otherwise. There’s a CEVO Duo image processing engine inside the slimmed-down frame upconverting your standard HDTV res inputs to QFHD, as well as support for apps and USB hard drive for recording broadcasts. This model should ship in June on the other side of the Pacific for an “open price” expected to be around 750,000 yen ($9,410 US), slightly lower than the X3′s 900,00 yen launch price last December.
The term “smart home” seems to turn up in tech circles every so often, only to fade into the background again without much sign of ultra-connected dwellings becoming a reality. Honda’s at least putting one foot forward, with a just-unveiled test house in Saitama, Japan featuring a system for controlling and monitoring energy usage. The Honda Smart Home System (HSHS) consists of thin-film solar cell panels, a rechargeable home battery unit, gas and hot water supply systems and the Smart e Mix Manager. The latter is the central part of the energy-control system, and it keeps track of all the other components in addition to monitoring the home’s use of power supplied by the grid. In emergency situations, it can also provide electricity via the home battery unit. On the day-to-day level, however, the system is there to let home owners know what sources of power they can kill. Honda also integrates its Japan-only Internavi system for controlling home appliances remotely. The car maker hopes to use the house for extensive demo testing, with an ultimate goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent. No word on how many decades till we actually call this sort of place home, though. Click on past the break for a look (in Japanese) at the test home’s features.
Currently drowning in more cash than sense? Do you also call the land of the rising sun home? Excellent, as we’ve found the perfect camera just for you: the elusive white variant of Leica’s M9-P. Restricted to only 50 units, the unicorn shooter will go on sale come June for a cool 2,620,000 yen (or around $31,770) — a hefty premium over the regular (read: black and chrome) permutations which cost $7,995. Granted those pedestrian versions don’t come wielding an insane f/0.95 50mm lens out of the box. And if this ridiculous combo is priced out of your league, you could always go after its cheaper, yet also delectable white predecessor– although we’ll hazard you’re going to need more than just luck finding it.
Michael Brecker (ts), Gil Goldstein (e-p, acc), Alex Sipiagin (tp), Peter Gordon (frh), Robin Eubanks (tb), Bob Sheppard (ss), Dan Willis (double reeds), Roger Rosenberg (bcl), Joyce Hammann (vl), Meg Okura (vla), Lois Martin (vla), David Eggers (vlc), Adam Rogers (g), Boris Kozlov (b), Antonio Sanchez (dr), Danny Sadownick (perc) Syzygy — Broadband — Scylla — Timbuktu — Itsbynne Reel — Angel Of Repose recorded at Blue Note, Tokyo, Japan, February 12, 2004 Michael Brecker was truly one of the most known tenor saxophone players of his generation. His incredible technical knowledge, the imaginative control of his instrument and the lightness with what he was able to adapt to any musical surrounding gave him exceptional development opportunities. For over thirty years, until his death in 2007 he was one of the most in demand session musicians. His name can be found on more than 800 jazz, pop and rock albums. At the same time the ten times Grammy award winner developed to one of the most passionate and most dynamic jazz soloists, an incredible improviser and imaginative composer. With his 15-person ensemble “Quindectet, a chamber orchestra with a brass and woodwind section and string players (Grammy award in 2004 for the album “Wide Angles”) he wrote brilliant arrangements where the single orchestral sections that have been put in layers over the guitar, bass, drums and percussion containing rhythmic group could be clearly and precisely recognized. The whole ensemble plays with the agility of a considerably smaller group and gives the compositions an additional dynamic and expressivity.
YouTube playlist : http://bit.ly/wmCWJw
Apple’s been making inroads with enterprise users for some time, and now Sanwa’sgiving the iPhone some serious presentation chops with its new pico projector. The 400-PRJ011 is compatible with both the iPhone 4 and the 4S, powered by its own 2,100mAh battery and also charges your iPhone’s battery whenever you turn the projector function off. It’s got a five hour charge time, can provides 2.5 hours of steady projection and throws images on the wall up to 65-inches in size at 640 × 360 resolution and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. A global release date has yet to be announced, but our Japanese friends can pick one up for ¥19,800 ($260).
Toshiba is finally ready to bring its 55-inch, 4K res 3DTV home in Japan, and buyers will have their first chance to part with 900,000 yen ($11,578 US) on December 10th. The 55X3 (ZL2 in Europe) still doesn’t have a North American ship date, but we can still drool over its high res display and autostereoscopic (no glasses) 3D screen that adjusts for its viewers’ location based on face tracking technology, although that results in a resolution drop down to 720p. Our last time getting eyes-on with a prototype panelwas at CES and we probably won’t see it again until we’re back in Las Vegas in a few weeks, let’s hope all that CEVO Engine technology Toshiba’s plugged in for image processing makes it worth the wait… and the price.
Amongst the many concept EVs we’ve seen at the Tokyo Motor Show this week, Toyota thinks that fuel cell vehicles still have a chance. Hence the above cool-looking FCV-R, an actual functional hydrogen car featuring a multi-LCD panel dashboard along with a driving range of around 700km or 435 miles. Alas, interested buyers will have to wait until around 2015 before Toyota launches its first fuel cell car, which is currently projected to cost around $125,000. And of course, there’s no saying on whether hydrogen fuel stations will be widely available across the nation by then. For now though, you can take a closer look at the FCV-R in our video after the break.
Using LEDs to display messages on the back of a car? Looks like we have yet another contender with the same idea, except this time all four sides get an LED panel each. The idea behind Daihatsu’s Pico concept EV is that it can interact with surrounding pedestrians and drivers using messages with matching colors. For instance, the LED belt can issue a red warning on the back if a car is following too closely; or when driving past pedestrians in close proximity (think rascal scooters but with front and back seats), the belt can turn green and indicate that the car’s limited to a safe top speed of 3.7mph.
Other than that, the Pico’s very much just a cute little EV with a driving range of up to 31 miles (with a full two-hour charge), plus a top speed of 31mph. We also dig the touchscreen console inside the car, but with just the two LED bars acting as doors, we sure hope it’ll withstand a bit of rain. Video after the break.
Nope, there’s nothing wrong with those wheels. As you may recall, this is Nissan’s Pivo 3, the company’s latest concept EV that provides extreme agility using its four oddly pivoted, individually powered wheels. While we couldn’t see this three-seater make sharp U-turns and do automatic parking at the Tokyo Motor Show, our very own Zach Honig managed to get his finger and trouser grease all over it.
Behind those pop-out doors one of the most interesting features we saw was the subtle side-view cameras with accompanying screens, thus reducing the car’s width. Also, it turns out the lone steering wheel handles all four wheels, meaning the driver won’t have to sacrifice too much brain power over multiple controls. That said, we can imagine that even the most experienced drivers may find this car to be a tough animal to tame initially — the lady in Nissan’s earlier demo looked like she had to steer dramatically around sharp corners. But keep the car going straight and it’ll accelerate up to 120km/h (75mph), while on a single charge it can go up to 100km (62 miles). Video after the break.
Google’s already put its stamp on the great outdoors, what with its Street View fleet chronicling the well-trodden ways of our world for Maps. Which is precisely why Mountain View’s turning its attention inward for that next, great navigation innovation, as it attempts to chart a course through the wilds of indoor spaces. Hitting the Android Market in the U.S. and Japan today, the company’s ever-popular app gets a full version bump to 6.0, bringing with it the inclusion of retail and airport floor plans.
The newly added indoor maps don’t quite offer the turn-by-turn navigation you’ve come to know and depend upon (that’s outside-only for now), but the provided layouts should help usher you along to the nearest bathroom, clothing shop or elevator. There’s no fancy equipment at use, either. All of your positioning information is culled from the same set of data (including GPS) used for “My Location,” although here it’s been optimized to detect movement along the z-axis. What does that mean for you, dear end user? Try a nifty feature called “Automatic Floor Detection” that’ll keep track of your progress as you move about from escalator to escalator. Google’s also endeavoring to extend its indoor reach, opening up its mapping inventory with a self-service tool (currently in beta) that’ll allow business owners to upload floor plans directly to Maps.
If you’re itching to test the tech out, you’ll want to find yourself at one of the dozen-plus airport partners scattered across the country, in addition to transit hubs and major retail outlets both stateside and in Japan. Familiar commercial forces like Macy’s and Takashimaya have opted-in to the indoor location service, but your best bet’s going to be IKEA — which has agreed to roll the feature out to all of its stores nationwide. So, whether you’re rocking Android 2.1 or the forward-facing 4.0, prepare to let your Googlefied smartphone almost always be your guide. Follow past the break for additional shots and a video demo of the indoor geo-location in action.
NICT, JVC Kenwood team up for wall-sized 3D HD display, lets in your face advertising get literal (video)
Been holding out hope for a real-life holodeck? Well, looks like Japan’s got wall number one out of four already covered. We kid, we kid. That Trekkie tech future’s still a ways off, but recent prototypes like this 200-inch auto-stereoscopic 3D screen are bringing that illusive reality one step closer to our living rooms. Exhibited during CEATEC 2011, this 1920 x 1080 full HD display plays images at 60fps using an array of 57 projectors, and offers up viewing angles of 13 degrees. What does all of that mean for you? Well, the setup gives viewers a limited ability to peer around projected objects, so long as they stay within a 1.3m (about 4ft) area. It’s yet another fruit of the collaboration between the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and JVC Kenwood, except this one’s headed for the realm of outdoor digital advertising. Home theater aficionados looking for a virtual entertainment solution can always opt for Sony’s HMD, but that kind of defeats the glasses-free allure.