Panasonic has been busy this week - at a press event yesterday evening it announced two small, but significant, products that are sure to do well in Japan.
The first, and most significant, item is a tiny speaker that weighs less than 1g. The EAS2DS01A Micro-speaker is just 1.5mm thick and is about to go into sample production with a view to putting it in consumer products by the middle of 2007. The company reckons it's the thinnest commercially produced speaker in the world.
The tiny speaker is intended for use inside mobile phones, video cameras and anything else that plays back media with sound. Panasonic claims it performs as well as a much larger speaker - it outputs 0.5W - and that distortion problems associated with the lack of a substantial oscillating board have been eliminated.
Although the speaker won't be available to consumers for obvious reasons, interested companies can pick up a batch of samples to experiment on for ¥500 (£2) each.
Tiny Bluetooth headset
The rest of the event focused on Panasonic's other new product - an attractive Bluetooth 1.2 headset for mobile phones. The ¥6,825 (£30) EB-M70083 earphones look good in white and interface with pretty much any recent phone.
Battery life is rated at 6 hours of talk-time and 4.5 hours for listening to audio play-back, while the weight is a respectably light 25g, which is way better than any other Bluetooth cans we've seen.
Most importantly, using the Bluetooth link with the headset doesn't interrupt using any of the next-generation functions that are so common in Japanese phones, including e-cash, RFID credit cards, and the Suica train pass.