Cool Japanese tech toys - Jefferson Graham

Cool Japanese tech toys

One of the perks of visiting Japan is checking out the mega, multi-floor electronics shops and finding fun products not available back home. 

We loved this retro vintage TV from Doshisha, which looks like the TV sets we grew up with, but in fact is a 20-inch LCD set on four legs. Sure, there are buttons to turn it on and off and change the channels, but there's also 2 HDMI slots and a remote control. 

The price tag at Yodobashi Camera in Osaka was listed at $500 —but the website for the company lists $900, plus $275 shipping. Even worse--gougers are asking $1700 on Amazon to buy it for US delivery. Wowza!


The Clova Friends smart speaker is the Line Corp.'s answer to Amazon Echo and Google Home, but with a twist. She's darn cute. 

In Japan, everything is cute and character based. So Line pushed out the battery powered, bluetooth enabled speakers in the guise of the yellow chicken Sally and bear, whose name is Brown. 

The speakers are small, compact, portable, and can do everything Alexa can do, like set your calendar, play music and wake you up, even read your horoscope. They sell for around $60, and if Line was willing to make a go of it, I think they'd sell a gazillion copies in the United States. 

Finally, how about those Panasonic Lets Note laptops? 

Built and only available in Japan,  they are billed as the world's lightest, most versatile mobile computers. The price range is from $1,300 to $2,000, so they're a premium product akin to Apple's MacBook line. 

I picked up a MacBook Air at Yodobashi and then held a Lets Note and the difference was striking. The Panasonic felt half the weight and for people who drag laptops on their back all day--like I do--to tote something like this around would be an absolute joy. 

Additionally, the series has so many available ports--unlike what's happened with other laptops, which have taken them away. The Lets Note have 1 USB-C, 3 traditional USB ports, an SD card slot, options to plug to monitors and projectors, and even a slot for a SIM card, to bring LTE access to the laptop. 


Finally, it's not out yet, but later this year, the new Sony AIBO robot dog will go on sale, again, Japan only. She was the cute show-stopper from this years CES. 

She can respond to owners with all sorts of tricks, at only $1,700 plus $30 monthly, and best of all--she doesn't poop. 

AP Gadget Show Sony
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