The sun may not be shining but technology manufacturers are making us sizzle with their latest products. We check out August's hottest gadgets.

Summer may have been a wash-out but the gadget makers aren't letting that affect them. There have been some interesting products announced and launched here in Tokyo in the past few weeks. The highlight has to be Toyota's Winglet, which is sort of like a shrunken version of the Segway transporter. Toyota let me take it for a test drive and it was a lot of fun.

Despite a little nervousness getting on it the first time, it was soon a breeze to drive.

The potentially most significant news of the month was the consortium formed around Sony's TransferJet technology. While there are a few competing standards out there, TransferJet leaves the starting gates with a host of big-names behind.

But frankly, whether it’s this or wireless USB or some other technology, I just can't wait to get rid of all the gadget wires in my life!

Toyota Winglet

It's not very often that we get to see something as futuristic as Toyota's Winglet!

The Segway-like device was developed with engineers from Sony's robotics program and can scoot people around at about 6km per hour, which is the speed of a brisk walk. You ride by standing on it and steer by moving the handle.

The rider pushes a handle forward to make the device move ahead, pulls back to reverse or stop and pushes the handle to the side to turn. Three versions have been developed with the smallest weighing 10kg. Toyota envisages the device will be someday used by people to travel around urban areas and is small enough for a commuter to carry with them on the train or in the trunk of a car, it said.

However the company doesn't have any immediate plans to commercialise the device.

Toyota Winglet

Sony TransferJet

Back at CES in January Sony unveiled a prototype short-range, high-speed wireless data system called TransferJet. Now that system has taken a big step towards commercialisation with the launch of a consortium that will work on promoting it and ensuring gadgets are compatible. TransferJet is a Sony-developed wireless system that can send data at speeds of up to 375 megabits per second (Mbps) over distances of around 30mm.

It's designed to replace the cables that are typically needed to connect gadgets and its speed rivals that of USB 2.0 and Firewire, the two dominant cable-based systems in use today.

The 14 companies include some of the biggest names in consumer electronics including Panasonic, Nikon, Samsung and Toshiba.

NEXT PAGE: More of August's hottest gadgets

  1. Check out August's hottest gadgets and gizmos
  2. Sanyo's contactless Wii charger
  3. The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z150

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment news and reviews

The sun may not be shining but technology manufacturers are making us sizzle with their latest products. We check out August's hottest gadgets.

Au Smart Sports

If you're like me then you need all the help possible to stay in shape so new mobile phones from Japanese carrier Au could be just the thing.

The three Smart Sports handsets bring together a motion sensor and GPS so that when you're running, the number of steps taken, distance, and calories burned are measured and recorded. When you're done the work-out information can be sent to a server and later your run can be mapped and analysed through a PC so you can see just how well, or badly, you did.

It also hooks up with Au's 'Lismo' music download service to grab some motivational tunes for your run all at extra cost, of course. Using the 'Beat Run' playback mode, it will also match musical tracks and the pace of the exercise.

To date 33,000 people have used it this month and burned 16 million kilocalories in the process. The phones are available only in Japan.

Wii-mote contactless charger

Sanyo's Wii-Remote charger

A new charger developed by Sanyo makes replenishing the batteries in Nintendo Wii controllers as easy as placing them in a cradle. It consists of a rechargeable battery pack that replaces the batteries and battery compartment cover on an existing Wii remote control, and a charging cradle and AC adaptor.

In both the battery pack and charging cradle are coils of wire that, when brought together, enable energy to flow by induction from the cradle to the battery pack. It takes four hours to charge a remote control. The basic set of the battery pack, charging cradle and AC adaptor will cost around £25.

Additional cradles and battery packs will cost around £12 each. A single AC adaptor can be used to charge up to four remote controls but they charge one-by-one. The charging system will go on sale in Japan on August 25. Sanyo doesn't have any concrete plans to put it on sale overseas at present.

NEXT PAGE: The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z150

  1. Check out August's hottest gadgets and gizmos
  2. Sanyo's contactless Wii charger
  3. The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z150

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment news and reviews

The sun may not be shining but technology manufacturers are making us sizzle with their latest products. We check out August's hottest gadgets.

Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z150

Casio has expanded its Exilim digital still camera range with a slim 8Mp model. The Exilim Zoom EX-Z150 packs a wide-angle 28mm lens with 4x optical zoom so users should be able to get more into a picture than with many other digital cameras.

The camera is 20mm thick, 97mm wide by 57mm tall and is the thinnest camera in its class, according to Casio. Other features include anti-shake, face detection and a 3in LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor on the rear. It also has a YouTube shooting mode that records video in the file format and resolution preferred by YouTube, so the videos won't be re-encoded by the site and should maintain their quality.

Another handy feature is the date edit function, that allows you to go back and change the date and time on which a photo was recorded when it is taken. This means users can, for example, go back and correct pictures if they forget to change the camera settings when they arrived in a new time zone.

The Exilim Zoom EX-Z150 will go on sale in Europe from August and cost around €200 (£165).

Motorola updates the PEBL

Motorola Pebl

There's a new version of Motorola's PEBL mobile phone, which has been launched in South Korea. At first glance the handset doesn't appear to have an external display but like some other recent phones from competitors it's hidden under the outside case.

When buttons on the phone are pressed, the case appears to come to life with illumination. The so-called hidden display is touch-sensitive and can display pictures and be used for navigation and control of the phone's settings. Features of the new Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCMDA) handset include high-speed 7.2Mbps data transfer, Bluetooth, a 2Mp camera and MP3 player.

Overseas launch details have not yet been announced

MSI Wind

MSI is offering its MSI Wind mini-laptop with a 6-cell battery far better than the one currently on offer. You can still buy the current 3-cell model, which is lighter (1kg vs 1.2kg), but the 6-cell battery offers potentially far better life. A 3-cell laptop PC battery normally provides around two-to-three hours of battery life, depending on how the laptop is used and on what settings. A 6-cell battery can offer four-to-seven hours of run time. Of course, you pay for this better battery life. The new PC costs $599 in the states.

The MSI Wind

  1. Check out August's hottest gadgets and gizmos
  2. Sanyo's contactless Wii charger
  3. The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z150

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment news and reviews