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Turning Japanese

There are plenty of funky gadgets on sale this Christmas, but if you want to see the really mind-boggling stuff then Japan is the place to go.

Following well-documented cases of child murders and abductions in Japan recently, many parents are concerned about the whereabouts of their kids. Click here to read our report on NTT DoCoMo's SA800i mobile phone, which can be used to keep track of wandering children.

You might have thought that MiniDisc players had gone the way of the dinosaurs and BetaMax, but you'd be wrong – JVC's XM-C37 certainly hasn't been put into the shade by the iPod. And there's one distinct advantage it has over Apple's player: battery life. It'll manage up to 55 hours of playback, or 105 hours in long-play mode, according to JVC.

NEC has been in the news recently for a number of different reasons, and three products we've reported on have been the hard-disk-less laptop, the flexible, razor-thin battery and the LabelFlash DVD writer, which is something that you'll find in the UK, too.

Seiko is claiming a world-first technology coup: its new wristwatch has a flexible display, so it can curve around the wrist. Only 500 will be made, 300 of which will be available outside of Japan, though we're not sure how many will make it to the UK. The good news is that this is unlikely to be the last product of this type as flexible displays become more common.

Toshiba has followed Hitachi's lead and released a 1TB (terabyte) hard disk recorder. If you're wondering why you'd need so much storage space, then I've got one word – or rather, four letters – for you: HDTV. In HDTV mode you'll squeeze only 130 hours onto 1TB. It costs ¥228,000 (about £1,100). But there are no plans to sell it overseas yet.

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