Glance through the gadgets covered in this month's column and you'll see they are all portable. There's no doubt about it: cords are bad news in electronics today and are on the way out.
Wireless communications technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are making cables a thing of the past. Take Canon's Ixy Digital Wireless, for example, which uses Wi-Fi coupled with Pictbridge printing to let users send images directly from the camera to a printer without a PC or cable.
But no matter how portable your product is, it still has to come down to earth once every few hours of use to get recharged. Fuel cells hold out some hope for extending this battery life, and Canon drew attention with a prototype a hydrogen fuel cell. But fuel cells are still a few years off, so until then we have to rely on conventional battery technology.
And if it's disposable dry-cells you're using to power your gadgets that's not such a great thing. Around 40 billion dry-cells are disposed of worldwide each year, according to figures from Sanyo Electric, and many end up in land-fills where they leak and pollute the earth. Sanyo hopes to change this with its new Eneloop battery.
Sanyo Eneloop Battery
A battery might not seem exciting, but Sanyo's Eneloop is worth a look. The basic technology has been refined so that the battery is better at keeping its charge when not in use. That means Sanyo can charge them at the factory and they're ready to go as soon as you buy them -- no more charging up for three hours before they can be used. Sanyo hopes this will eliminate one of the final barriers towards mass adoption of rechargeable cells. Eneloop will be available in Japan from November. A pack of two AA batteries will cost ¥1,155 ($10). They will also be available in packs of four and eight, and also with a recharger. AAA-size batteries in the same range will go on sale in Japan on Jan. 21, 2006, and cost ¥945 for two. Eneloop will go on sale overseas but no firm details have been decided.
Web: http://www.sanyo.co.jp/eneloop (Japanese)
Sony DSC-T9 Digital Still Camera
Sony's latest digital still camera, the DSC-T9, has something for people who seem unable to take a clear picture. The camera incorporates two anti-blur systems: one to compensate for the effect of unsteady hands and one to capture fast moving objects clearly. About one-third of compact-class digital still cameras on sale in Japan include an anti-blur system of some type and that number is growing, Sony said. The credit-card sized camera shoots at 6-megapixel resolution and has a 2.5-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) panel. It will go on sale in Japan on Nov. 18 for around ¥47,000 ($406). It will be launched in Europe, Asia, and Australia before the end of the year and in the U.S. in January, said Sony.
Canon Ixy Digital Wireless