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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek technology


Asiaweek Pictures

FEBRUARY 18, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 6

Cutting Edge
Look, Ma, No Wires: Cellphone Headsets Go Truly Hands-Free
By STUART WHITMORE

The trouble with hands-free headsets for cellphones is that you still need to use your hands - if only to keep untangling the knot of wires snaking from the earpiece to your pocket. Not for much longer. By mid-year Ericsson will debut a headset that uses radio waves to transmit signals wirelessly to and from a plug-in for your phone. Press a key by your ear to answer when the phone rings. Press again and use voice activation to make a call. The handset can be up to 10 meters away, in your pocket, in a bag - even in another room. The device uses Bluetooth, a new, open technology standard developed by Ericsson, IBM, Nokia, Intel and Toshiba that will soon have all your gizmos talking to each other sans wires. I wonder what they'll be saying behind your back?

    ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Gripe, Gripe, Gripe
Asia's silent consumers get a chance to vent

Cellphone Headsets Go Truly Hands-Free
By mid-year Ericsson will debut a headset that uses radio waves to transmit signals wirelessly to and from a plug-in for your phone

  RELATED STORIES
New Medium, New Rules
China takes a hard line on Internet discourse

Cellphones That Know the Score
SK Telecom, one of Korea's largest mobile carriers, is joining up with Japan's NTT DoCoMo in an attempt to bring broadband Internet access to your cellphone

The Secret of Success
A hush-hush U.S. firm shows off its new chip

Thinking Smaller
Hong Kong and Japan converge in a Net investment bloc

Cutting Edge
Getting Snap Happy With Free Film Processing

Assif Online: In Debt?
Just make yourself a dotcom

Asiaweek Technology Home

How Many Millions You Got?
A picture may well paint a thousand words, but it's millions that matter with digital cameras. The clarity of your snapper depends on how many million pixels are crammed into its charged couple device (CCD), the sensor that captures images in place of film. NASA won't leave home without at least 6 megapixels, but now for the earthbound: cameras with stellar 3.3 megapixel CCDs. The Nikon CoolPix 990, below, Olympus C-3030 and Canon PowerShot S20 will all be in stores by May, priced close to $1,000. Japanese manufacturers shipped 2.3 million digital cameras between April and September last year, up 49% year on year. That demand means better products and better prices. Coming up: FujiFilm's 4.3 megapixel FinePix 4700. Coming down: the cost of last year's 2.1 megapixels, crashing toward a more affordable $600.

The Fantastic Eight
You're a 17-year-old ball of brooding angst and all you want to do is finish school. Unfortunately, it's a school for elite mercenaries, the country next door has just declared war on the entire world and as your graduation piece you were supposed to be settling the hostilities. And if that's not enough to be getting on with, you think you're falling in love. You're Squall Leonhart, the hero of Final Fantasy VIII, the latest installment in a 25 million-selling role-playing game series from Japanese videogame maker Squaresoft. FFVIII's stunning graphics and animation have already made it a huge hit on the PlayStation. Now for $39.99 PC owners can get in on the action, too. Cut down your foes with your trusty gunblade, suck magic out of your enemies, woo free-spirited beauty Rinoa, and watch with awe as a smoldering demon hurls molten balls of terror that destroy everything in their path. Don't worry, he's on your side.

Safe Cracker Gets Banged Up
Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore are most noted for how quiet they are. Ear-splitting firecrackers have been banned since 1972. Now Lion City "Inventpreneur" Paul Yap wants to bring back the noise with TechnoCracker, a high-tech banger that uses compressed air instead of gunpowder for a simulation of the traditional explosive spectacle. It's so safe you can even do it indoors. That safety comes at price. Renting a roll of 100-200 reusable TechnoCrackers for your function will cost around $300.

e-mail: stuart_whitmore@asiaweek.com

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