Here’s another nifty gadget that’ll be hitting the Japanese market, but probably won’t ever make to North America. NTT DoCoMo is going to carry the “Remokon Saucer” by Sugiyama Electron, allowing you to essentially “call” your home air conditioner and turn it on before you get home from work.
This remote control (“Remokon”) unit works with infrared to communicate with your home entertainment center, heating devices, and whatever else has an infrared-based remote control system. At any one time, it is capable of manipulating up to eight different home electronics, and it’s just a phone call away. It seems like the unit needs to be connected to an NTT DoCoMo Foma phone to work, as it makes use of their TV phone function.
If you happen to be over in Tokyo, wander into a DoCoMo shop come February 10, and you can take it home with you for about $100.