iPhone TV: Apple’s amazing iPhone does just about everything, right? Nope. It’s come up short in Japan for various reasons, including its lack of the TV function available on the newest generation of mobile phones.

Softbank is tackling this shortfall with a new gadget that works with an iPhone and allows it not only to pick up 1Seg TV broadcasts but also pull double duty as a battery booster.

The unit includes a TV tuner and aerial and it retransmits the signal via Wi-Fi to the iPhone, eliminating the need for a physical connection, unless you need the battery booster. Users will need an extra software application, but that will be available free of charge when the device goes on the market in mid-December.

The new Softbank gadget measures 50×85×16 mm and tips the scales at about 80 grams. It delivers enough power for up to three hours of viewing on each charge. The device can be recharged in four hours via a computer USB port or in two hours when connected to an AC outlet. It is expected to cost around ¥10,000.

Those who find 1Seg broadcasts compelling viewing will probably not mind the extra expense to bring their iPhone into the fold. It gives new meaning to getting the small picture. www.softbankmobile.co.jp

Mobile maps: Another mobile tech trend that still has legs is electronic navigation, particularly via devices mounted on your car’s dashboard.

Sanyo is one of the firms indulging this fashion with its rather oddly titled Gorilla lineup. It is releasing two new models, the NV-SD750FT Gorilla and NV-SB510DT Mini-Gorilla. The former has a 4-gigabyte solid-state drive and 7-inch LCD touch-screen. It also has a dual TV tuner, including both terrestrial and 1Seg, and can play MP3 and WMA audio files and display JPEG images. The onboard memory can be supplemented with SD memory cards.

The NV-SB510DT sports the same specifications but has a 5.2-inch screen. Its dimensions are 139×86×24 mm and it weighs 275 grams, compared with 190×109×37.5 mm and 680 grams for its bigger sibling.

The NV-SD750FT comes out Nov. 20, while the NV-SB510DT hits the market Dec. 10. Retail prices are not set.

The Gorillas have a decent reputation, and either of the new pair will get you where you want to go. www.sanyo.co.jp

A sound investment: One class of gadgets that are undoubtedly better in their digital incarnations is hand-held recording devices. Comparing the recording time of one of the digital devices with the ability of tape recorders is like measuring the speed of a hot air balloon against a modern airliner. Beyond endurance, the slight measurements of the modern gadgets make them a boon for secret recording, not that their owners would put them to such nefarious uses.

Logitec has added to the selection of digital recorders with its LIC-SR500.

It looks a bit like one of the candy- bar-style mobile phones, albeit with fewer buttons. With its rectangular shape and small backlit LCD screen, it measures 33×117×15 mm and weighs a svelte 40 grams, making it pocketable.

The Logitec creation records to microSDHC cards and comes with either a 2-GB or 4-GB card. It uses both MP3 and WMA audio files and can fit up to 136 hours of recording in its long-playing mode on a single 2-GB card. The cards easily outlast the recorder’s batteries, but even so, a pair of AAA (LR03) batteries will keep it going for 15 hours. The LIC-SR500 comes not only in white or black but also in pink.

Logitec lists the device as being open-priced for its release later this month. www.logitec.co.jp


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