TOKYO EDGE - January's coolest gadgets

Casio's EX-F1 digital camera, Asus' Terabyte laptop, JVC's new thin TV, Sony's Transfer Jet and Panasonic's 150-inch Plasma TV

The new year began with the tech blow-out that is the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Many of the big Asian tech companies were at the event showing their latest gadgets, and some interesting new technology that will be available in the coming months and years.

One of the most impressive products was Casio's EX-F1. This digital still camera has more megapixels -- and some genuinely new features that haven't been found on consumer cameras until now: fast burst shooting and super slow motion video playback. Also new at CES was Sony's Transfer Jet, which promises to do away with the need for cables for transferring data from gadget to gadget -- something that won't only make life easier but also cuts down on all those cables hanging around the house.

Read on for details.

Casio EX-F1 digital camera

A new digital camera coming in March from Casio brings something new: the ability to shoot up to 60 full-resolution 6-megapixel images in one second. The feature allows the user to scroll through the images and find, for example, the exact moment at which a baseball player's bat hits the ball, or a baby gives a perfect smile. Just as innovative is the high-speed video mode that offers between 300 frames per second and 1,200 fps video recording. When played back at the normal 30 fps it becomes a super slow-motion effect. In this mode it's possible to view, for example, the wings of a dragonfly flap as it takes to flight. The high-speed shooting comes at the expense of image quality, which drops to as low as 336 pixels by 96 pixels at 1,200 fps. In normal video shooting mode the camera is capable of full HD recording. Casio said the new camera will cost around US$1,000.

Asus Terabyte laptop

Taiwan's Asus has a new laptop that should satisfy the storage needs of all but the biggest of power users: the M70S comes with 1T byte of storage space. The machine packs dual 500G-byte drives that can be organized in a RAID 0 configuration, where data is distributed between the two drives to provide a performance boost over a single drive, or as RAID 1, where data is mirrored on each drive to provide redundancy in case of drive failure. In the latter case the storage space visible to the user drops to 500G bytes. The computer is aimed at multimedia applications and along these lines there's also an optional remote and analog/digital TV tuner. It has a 17-inch widescreen display and is based on an Intel Core2 Duo processor. It will be available in major markets in the coming months at a price to be announced.

JVC thin TV

Japan's JVC is among the first to announce a new generation of thin LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs. The 42-inch and 46-inch models are just 39 millimeters thick across most of the back of the panel -- which is significantly thinner than most flat-panel TVs on the market today -- but are 74 millimeters at the panel's center. Both offer high-definition resolution and will hit the U.S. market in "early summer" with pricing to be announced at that time, JVC said. JVC managed to thin down its TV by using a new backlight unit -- the light source that sits behind the LCD panel in the set -- that is 40 percent thinner than those used on its current TVs. It also developed a new power-supply that is both thinner and more efficient so overall power consumption of the new TVs has also been cut to 145 watts. Many major TV makers are developing thinner sets so look for the same from other companies soon.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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