Say what you want: Why use a tiny keypad to communicate when the human voice can do the job? NTT DoCoMo last week launched a new mobile phone from Fujitsu, the F884i, that will put the joy back into talking to your e-mail contacts. Employing the new FOMA Raku Raku Phone Premium system, users enter their e-mail text by talking to their phone instead of exercising their thumb. Pressing the phone’s “voice input” button activates the feature and the user simply says their message aloud. The words are then sent to a server where voice-recognition software, created by Advanced Media Inc., works out what it thinks the user said and the text is then sent back to the phone to be displayed for a final check. A major downside to this tech is that the common places where people now send e-mail are those where talking into your phone is frowned upon: the office, on a train. The clamshell handset has a screen that can swivel into a horizontal position, enhancing its 1Seg TV viewing capability. The F8841 also supports both W-CDMA and GSM technologies, allowing it to be used for international roaming. www.nttdocomo.co.jp

Tiny computing: Sharp and Willcom have crafted an eye-catching bit of technology in the form of the Willcom D4, a tribute to technology’s relentless pursuit of miniaturization. This UMPC, an acronym for ultra-mobile personal computer, uses one of Intel’s heralded new Atom chips. These chips are dedicated to lowering power consumption for mobile computing. The sleek new UMPC weighs 470 grams and fits a 1.33-gigahertz processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, 40-gigabyte hard drive disk and 5-inch touch-screen into a tiny 84×188×25.9 mm. The D4 also sports a full-featured keyboard, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth abilities, and uses Windows Vista Home Premium as its operating system. It comes with Willcom’s W-Sim card, so you can even use it as a phone. It is slated for a mid-June release priced at ¥128,600. www.willcom-inc.com

The power of simplicity: Peripherals-maker GreenHouse is trying to brighten up the electronic morass with its new Eneplug line, which allow you to recharge your USB-powered devices directly from an AC outlet. You simply plug your device’s USB cable into the small, colorful Eneplug and then connect it to the wall socket. The plugs come in white, black, yellow, green, orange and pink and cost ¥980. www.green-house.co.jp/products

Traveling sound: Pioneer has added stylish mobility to your pursuit of high fidelity with the mid-April release of its new digital wireless headset. The 2.4-gigahertz SE-DRS3000C headphones employ a 48-bit digital sound processor (10Hz to 24kHz) to offer a working radius of 30 meters from the transmitter, which also serves as a recharging cradle. The whole unit costs ¥39,800. pioneer.jp/press/2008/0415-1.html

Wooo’ing the TV crowd: Hitachi has managed to cut the girth of its new Wooo UT series of high-definition LCD televisions to 35 mm in part by taking the dual TV tuner out of the set and putting it in a separate box that is connected to the TV. The 32-inch model has a resolution of 1366×768, while the 37- and 42-inch models have “Full-HD” resolutions of 1920×1080. Each includes a 250-gigabyte hard drive for recording TV programs. Hitachi’s second new series of Wooo LCD televisions, the XV trio, is similar to the UT models but has no hard drive and keeps the TV tuners in-body. Models in the line come in similar sizes and resolutions to their UT brethren. All six are to be released June 7. Beyond the LCD models, Hitachi is also releasing, on Saturday, a trio of new Plasma TVs, the Wooo 02 series, each with an internal 250-gigabyte hard drive. The 42-inch P42-HR02 has a resolution of 1024×1080 and costs ¥258,000; the P50-HR02 has a resolution of 1280×1080 and costs ¥358,000; while the P50-XR02 delivers 1920×1080 resolution for ¥498,000. av.hitachi.co.jp/tv/index.html

Flush of green: Toto, although better known in terms of sanitary white, is going green with its new high-tech toilet. The Neorest AH makes use of Toto’s Hybrid Ecology System. This is claimed to be the world’s first bowl-cleaning system that draws on two water sources: a tank inside the toilet and the outside water supply. Beyond upping the complexity of the toilet’s operation, the new system is said to more than halve a toilet’s water usage. Toto claims that whereas old-style tank-type toilets use 13 liters of water per flush, the new system can do the same job with just 5.5 liters of water. The new toilet includes the standard extras, such as washing and drying functions and a heated seat. Toto will showcase the toilet at the Japanese Design 2008 Innovation event being held in Italy this month. www.totoneorest.com/#/home


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