Back when we were students, the only things our dictionaries could do were weigh down our backpacks and act as a home base during kickball. It's no secret that, like everything else, the Japanese have had better study aid options. Now not one, but three manufacturers announced new additions to their respective mega-dictionary handhelds: Seiko in conjunction with Franklin, and Canon. First up is Seiko's and Franklin's SII by Franklin DB-J990 which defies category conventions and opts for a slider design reminiscent of the Vaio UX rather than the usual clamshell. In addition to MP3 audio playback and support for common eBook formats, RSS, Word, and Powerpoint, it contains ten dictionaries, including The Princeton Review's "Cracking the TOEIC" test preparation, and boasts full PC connectivity, allowing users to access and manipulate all the information on their handheld from their computer (for instance, annotating words you're having difficulty with). Not to be outdone, Canon is offering a pair of dictionaries which also have MP3 playback: the Wordtank V300 ($471) and the Wordtank M300 ($386). Both devices have 38 reference guides in five subject areas, some with text-to-speech ensuring proper pronunciations. There is also a built-in voice recorder, so you can compare your articulation against the device's. The only differing factor between the two Wordtanks are in screen size and battery life: the V300 donning a 4.9-inch screen with 80 hours to the charge, versus the M300's 3.78-inch screen and 107 hours of life. Both Wordtanks should be available in Japan come February 2, and the DB-J990, which will retail for $295, will also be available in next month. For those not turned off by the usual not-for-the-U.S. disclaimer, you can peep pics of Canon's devices are after the break.

[Via Akihabara News]

Read - SII by Franklin DB-J990
Read - Canon Wordtank M300
Read - Canon Wordtank V300

Canon Wordtank V300


Canon Wordtank M300

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Dictionaries galore: Seiko and Franklin's DB-J990, Canon's V300 and M300