Panasonic’s Let’s Note laptops are pure Japanese business distilled into a brick

If you ever find yourself on a bullet train between, say, Tokyo and Osaka at 5.37pm on a Thursday afternoon, you’ll see a lot of dudes in suits with three things on the little fold-out table: a meticulously arranged bento box, a can of Suntory Premium Malts beer, and a Panasonic Let’s Note laptop.

Let’s Note laptops don’t look like much. Well, to be precise, they look like laptops from 2002. They have super boxy, inch-thick designs, squared-off screens, giant cooling vents, optical disc drives, VGA ports, and inexplicably circular trackpads. The line dates back to 1996, and hasn’t really changed much this millennium.

The range remains ubiquitous in Japan wherever there’s a need for portable computing, however, and Panasonic is putting a…

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Panasonic’s ZS200 compact camera doubles down on zoom

Along with the all-new GX9, Panasonic launched the ZS200 compact superzoom, a successor to the excellent ZS100. The new model hasn't massively changed, as it still offers a 1-inch, 20.1 megapixel sensor, 5-axis stabilization, 4K, 30 fps video and mor…
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Panasonic’s Grand Plan for a Futuristic Smart City is Taking Shape

Denver’s Smart City

It was two years ago that Denver, Colorado announced it was partnering with electronics corporation Panasonic to turn a 400-acre stretch of land near the Denver International Airport into a “smart city” — a city that incorporates technology to improve infrastructure.

The Denver smart city project is part of Panasonic’s larger CityNOW initiative that aims to transform cities around the world into ones that are economically friendly, have fully embraced technology, and are overall better places for people to live. It’s the second smart city project following the one built in Fujisawa, Japan in 2015.

While the project still several years away from completion, recent steps taken by the two parties prove that they’re determined to see it through.

Since the partnership, the future smart city has been fitted with WiFi, security cameras, environmental sensors, interactive kiosks, and a microgrid that can power the entire area for 72 hours in the event of a power outage. More recently, attention has been turned to the city’s roads.

Smart Roads

Denver and Panasonic teamed up with the Colorado Department of Transportation in 2017 to develop a $ 72 million system called Road X. The program aims to reduce vehicle accidents by facilitating communications between vehicles and the city’s infrastructure. Road X could suggest optimal navigation routes based on real-time traffic patterns or implement “virtual guardrails” to notify drivers when they drift out of lanes.

This year has even more in store for Denver’s smart city. Panasonic — in collaboration with French self-driving bus developer EasyMilewill introduce an autonomous shuttle that will connect the city’s rail station to bus routes on Denver’s Tower Road.

Concept image of Denver's completed smart city. Image Credit: Panasonic
Concept image of Denver’s completed smart city. Image Credit: Panasonic

While much progress is being made, it’ll still be some time before Denver’s smart city is completed. The one built in Japan was an eight-year endeavor, and work on Denver’s isn’t expected to finish until 2026.

While the CityNOW project has seemingly been successful so far, there’s no telling what could transpire over the next several years, such as the idea failing to expand to other states due to politics. But, if the red tape can be cut through, Denver’s smart city could stand as a shining example of how science and technology can improve daily life for all people.

The post Panasonic’s Grand Plan for a Futuristic Smart City is Taking Shape appeared first on Futurism.

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Panasonic’s Lumix G9 is a promising Sony lookalike

The flagship camera of Panasonic’s Lumix lineup, the GH5, has been out for about a year now. Its relatively rave reviews almost always come with a caveat: it’s a bit one-dimensional. While the GH5 is a capable stills camera, it was built for video. So today, Panasonic is tilting the scales the other way with the Lumix G9.

The G9 — which costs $ 1,699 and goes on sale in January — is a stills-focused powerhouse of a digital camera built on mostly the same architecture as the GH5. It employs the same 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, has 5-axis mechanical image stabilization just like the GH5, and Panasonic is using the same image processor — though it’s been tuned for much better stills performance than the GH5, Panasonic says.

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Panasonic’s photo-centric Lumix G9 borrows from the GH5

The 10-bit, 4K GH5 video powerhouse is Panasonic's most famous camera, and now it's trying to bring that mojo to its new photography flagship. The Lumix G9 uses the GH5's 20.3-megapixel sensor without a low-pass filter, and has a restyled, slimmed-do…
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