Nothing's worse than delays when you're waiting for a hot new gadget. Just ask the tens of thousands of people who queued up all night for the PlayStation 3 when it made its global debut here in Japan Nov. 11. The console had originally been due out in the early part of the year but was held up by several problems. Judging by the lack of stock in stores, it's still difficult for people who want one to do so before the end of the year holidays.
So it's nice to see Panasonic living up to the promise it made at this year's Ceatec show with the HDC-SD1 camcorder. This small-size high-definition video camera records straight to an SD card. If you hate dealing with tapes but want home movies in high-def glory this might be just the thing .... if you can afford it. By comparison, you could pick up three PlayStation 3 consoles for the price of this camcorder, assuming you can get your hands on them!
Panasonic HD Camcorder
The HDC-SD1 from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic) records AVCHD-format video directly to a SD (Secure Digital) memory card. A 4GB memory card, which costs around $200, can accommodate about 90 minutes of video when recorded at 6Mbps. The video is 1080i (1,080 horizontal lines, interlaced scanning), which is just below the 1080p (progressive scanning) system judged to be the highest of several video quality levels that fall within the high-definition bracket. It also has a 3CCD (charge coupled device) sensor behind the lens. It goes on sale in Japan in December for ¥180,000 ($1,527) with a bundled 4GB card. Overseas launch plans have not been announced.
Kenwood Media Keg
Kenwood Corp.'s Media Keg provides yet more evidence that music players will get smaller and smaller until we can't see them anymore. The device, which has the snappy HD10GB7 model name, contains a 10GB hard-disk drive, measures just 44mm by 62mm by 17mm, and weighs 78 grams. It has a 1.5-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) display on its front with a small keypad positioned directly under the display. You can play MP3, WAV and Windows Media audio files including those with Windows Media DRM10 digital rights management. It will go on sale in Japan in early December for around ¥40,000 ($344) and while no international launch plans have been announced, the on-screen menu supports Japanese, English, French, Italian, German, Dutch, and Spanish.
TurboLinux, perhaps best known for its Linux operating system, has a new MP3 player that is sure to interest geeks everywhere. The Wizpy does all the kinds of things you'd expect from a music player these days -- MP3, AAC, Ogg, JPEG images, and Divx videos -- and has a surprise: A partition with an install of the TurboLinux Fuji operating system. This means you can hook this up to a PC's USB port and boot into Linux and access installed applications. TurboLinux advertises it as your own OS in the palm of your hand and it certainly looks that way. The Wizpy will be out in Japan in February with no word yet on availability in other markets. There's no word yet on price. It weighs just 60 grams, which makes it lighter than most cell phones.
Toshiba 8GB SD Card