Digital | ON: TECH

Entertaining tech that you can slip into your pocket

by Chiho Komoriya

The force can always be with you

Just in time for the “Rogue One” release, SoftBank is asking its users to choose their allegiance to the Dark or Light side through its limited-edition Star Wars Sharp smartphones.

The phone itself is pretty standard, but it’s not the hardware that fans will be buying this for: These phones come bundled with all kinds of “Star Wars” extras. Each has reflective casing — red for Dark and White for Light — and depending on your allegiance, different Android 6.0 skins and live wallpapers. Dark-siders will see their phone through the cockpit of an X-wing, while Light-siders will get a TIE Fighter view. Other draws include the “Star Wars: Force Collection” game, a movie app that will let users watch “The Force Awakens” any time until the end of 2019, a “Star Wars” alarm clock, plus pre-installed special ringtones and emoji.

On top of all this, the phones come with a special-edition set of “Rogue One” gunmetal figurines.

Just one word of caution, SoftBank insists on users signing up for a two-year contract when buying phones. So choose wisely — no starting Light and slipping to the Dark side.

The phone is priced at ¥99,720, but check the website for different payment plans.

An iPhone home theater

If you’re the kind of person who often has to give presentations or does most of your video viewing on an iPhone, then a mini projector is likely something you’ve been after for while. There are quite a few on the market, but most of them are separate gadgets that aren’t always convenient to use.

Thanko, however, has released a projector that is only 195 grams and slips onto your phone like a case, making it easy to use and just about pocket-sized. Available in two types — one for iPhone 7, 6S and 6, and another for IPhone Plus versions — the projector produces home-theater equivalent resolutions of WVGA 854 × 480, meaning it can project clearly to a 30-inch screen size from 1 meter away up to 120 inches at 4 meters away.

In addition to using it with apps and videos on your phone, it can be connected to Blu-ray and DVD players or PCs via an HDMI port, as well as memory sticks and SD memory cards via a USB port.

A full five-hour charge allows up to one hour and 40 minutes of consecutive use, and it can also be used as a battery pack to recharge your phone. It’s not cheap at ¥39,800, but considering its many uses, that’s not unreasonable either.

DIY info at your fingertips

Perhaps taking a cue from Cookpad, the hugely popular recipe site in Japan, Wondershake has released its beta version of Creon, an app listing various do-it-yourself projects.

A free app for IOS and Android, Creon offers “recipes” to make interior goods, accessories, stationery, cosmetics, gardening items and some food dishes. Not only does it allow users to upload instructions and images, but it also lets other members tag instructions with names of supply shops, so readers can find out where to buy the materials needed. Right now the most popular tags are names of ¥100 stores, so many of the items are also inexpensive to make.

The official release date for Creon is March 2017, but it’s already racking up a number of projects.