Wave your hands in the air: Wireless is just the headliner in the campaign to free computers from electric cords. While touch screens threaten to make the mouse extinct, some are trying to give traditional pointers a new lease on life. Filco has crafted the recently released BTLS900 Air Mouse (¥9,200), which is not only free of any cord connecting it to a PC, it doesn’t even need a mouse pad or other surface to work on. Equipped with a gyro sensor, the Filco creation can be waved in the air like Nintendo’s trend-setting Wii remote control. Swishing the mouse left moves the cursor on your screen to the left, while moving the mouse up triggers a corresponding move and so on.
Apart from adding to your cardiovascular workouts, the mouse makes it easier to use a laptop computer in unconventional locations such as a sofa, where it is difficult to find a stable, flat surface. The pointer also does with tracking balls and the other poor substitutes for a mouse that often come with laptops. The BTLS900 works at a maximum range of 10 meters and is Bluetooth enabled. Nicely styled in blue and gray with a fairly conventional jellybeanlike shape, the Air Mouse has the standard left and right buttons and scroll wheel and can be used on surfaces as well rather than in the air. The internal battery (550 mAh) can be recharged via USB. The Air Mouse weighs 73 g, is 120 mm in length, 56 mm wide and has a height of 38 mm. www.diatec.co.jp/products/det.php?prod_c=596
Storing the sound: Considering the importance of dialogue and music for movies and television shows, you would think that flat-screen TV makers could put more money into their speaker systems. Sharp is introducing two home-theater systems that address this need for better audio on June 10. The AN-AR510 (¥99,800), for TVs that are up to 52 inches, and the AN-AR410 (¥89,800), for TVs of up to 42 inches, not only improve audio but also serve as TV stands. Each looks like your average TV stand with shelving for storing DVDs and videos. However, built into the stands is a surround sound system that boasts a total output of 485 W and includes a 230-W subwoofer and a trio of 10-cm speakers.
The new stands are compatible with the AQUOS Link remote control for the TV, home theater and Blu-ray or DVD player, and come with three HDMI ports and a pair of digital inputs. The two offerings differ a tad in design: The AN-AR510 splits the shelving into two and the AN-AR410 groups them in the middle, but both are rated to carry up to 80 kg. www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/090508-a.html
Mac gets defined: Mac users have, until now, been locked out of the ballyhooed high-definition world. Japanese firm Pixela is finally unshackling Macs with its Capty Hi-vision TV capture box (PIX-DT141-PU; on sale next month for ¥22,800). Small and stylish, the device allows you to plug a TV antenna into one socket and connect the Capty to your computer via USB. All users that have Macs and Apple Minis that are enabled to display high-definition pictures can then watch and record shows in high-definition (the device only works with Intel Macs with Mac OS X 10.5.4 or later versions).
Viewing and recording functions are managed with Pixela’s StationTV LE program, which can be controlled using the Apple remote. Weighing just 120 g, the unit measures 78 mm × 132 mm×17.8 mm and draws its power via the USB cable. The only high-definition TV tuner on the market for Macs, Apple users wanting to turn their computers into televisions don’t have a lot of choice (though the Pixela products may not work outside of Japan). www.pixela.co.jp/company/news/2009/20090512.html