Radio star: Television did not kill off radio, but it knocked it from the top perch in the entertainment food chain and forced it to change immensely. The iPod revolution, however, has rather surprisingly breathed new life into the old medium. Internet radio brings the world’s music to you, quite literally. AsusTek might have gone retro in the appearance of its new Internet Radio, but the technology inside is all top-drawer gear. Supporting both B and G flavors of WiFi, the gadget can quickly detect any WiFi network, and, once connected, you can peruse over 10,000 radio stations worldwide. It puts your iPod to shame. The radio also sports a LAN connection for those of us who are so yesterday in our network thinking.
Dressing-up time: The plethora of maid-themed cafes in Tokyo electronics haven Akihabara are deservedly notorious, and the only surprise is that it has taken the concept so long to spawn a techy offspring. Maid Station Cafe is selling a maid computer case, dressed up in frilly black and white. The ensemble looks like a standard maid mannequin, albeit an abbreviated one, offering a waist-to-knees torso complete with short skirt, stocking tops and no undies. Various sockets are lined up at the top at the “waistline,” with the build-it-yourself workings held safely within. The case is available for ¥35,800 from alphonso.co.jp/m4125/m/. Now that’s what we call a laptop.
Made to order: In the wake of the above, personalizing your computer by decking it out in your choice of vibrant colors seems just so beige. Nevertheless, catering to the more subtle among us, PC Frontier, again in Akihabara, is offering a line of 12.1-inch notebook computers available in pink, yellow, cosmic blue, cool black or clear white. Beyond the color selection, you can also choose the CPU, hard disk and optical drive. The laptops measure 299x219x26.5 mm, weigh in at 1.9 kg and have a 2 1/2-hour battery life. The made-to-order computers cost ¥99,800, with details at: www.frontier-k.co.jp.
Watches hang on: Crafted with a nifty white design, the Hyundai W-100 watch-phone packs a few extra punches — notably a GSM mobile phone. It also has a 1.3-megapixel camera, a touch-screen, Bluetooth and MP3 and video playback. Apart, of course, from telling the time, the phone is also multilingual, including Chinese and English in its repertoire.
Doing it all: Sharp keeps looking for an edge in the electronic dictionary market with offerings that do double duty as personal media players. Its latest effort is the touch-screen, Windows-based SP700, which packs 30 gigabytes of memory (with SD/MMC card slot) and plays DivX and XviD video formats, as well as MPEG 1, 2 and 4 and WMV. A TV tuner is thrown in for when you get bored of your videos.
Dog bytes: Robot pets might be giving our animal best friends a hard time, but technology is not always a threat to the furred ones. SolidAlliance has brought out a range of colored USB drives shaped like doggie bones. Apart from the regular drive duties, these can double as dog tags; you put your dog’s personal details on the drive, hang it around pooch’s neck and you have a safeguard against lost-dog syndrome. The new gadgets cost ¥2,980, with more information at: item.rakuten.co.jp/sastore/dog-512/. In a cute touch, the 512-megabyte drives also sport that chewy texture that dogs love to get their teeth into.