Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Zoom phones haven't exactly been a runaway hit. Maybe it's because no one really wants a massive camera strapped to the back of their phone, or maybe it's because they're lumpy and expensive. Whatever the case might be, Panasonic is throwing its hat into the super powerful phone-camera with the LUMIX Smart Camera DSC-CM1, a gorgeous little point and shoot that hides a full Android phone (including calls and data) on its back end.
Panasonic's KX-PRX120, besides having a sexy name, is quite the handset. It runs Ice Cream Sandwich, has access to the Play Store, and sports a 3.5 inch touch-screen that would not look out on place on display next to any other budget smartphone. The thing is, buyers won't want to tote it around town. This digital cordless phone is too timid for that lifestyle and works best within the confines of its own home.
In case there was any doubt that 5 inches is the new standard for Android superphones, Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has removed all of it with a new hardware series. Right at the top of the list is a new device from Panasonic in their relatively young Eluga family, this one christened the ELUGA X P-O2E. The 5-inch LCD screen is naturally 1080p, and hides a 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon Pro processor, and a 13.2 megapixel camera.
Taking a new approach to firmware upgrades, Panasonic has decided to update its Eluga handset to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich via a downloadable Play Store app appropriately named 'ELUGA ICS Update.'
For those who don't remember, the Eluga is a little-talked-about handset that debuted in Spring 2012 in Europe and Japan, touting a waterproof and dustproof chassis.
According to its description, Panasonic's update app "connects to Panasonic download server [sic] and downloads the Ice Cream Sandwich software update." Of course, many of us are familiar with what improvements Ice Cream Sandwich brings over Gingerbread 2.3.x, but Panasonic emphasizes the new "powerful new features" of its custom skin as well, listing the lock screen, status bar, home screen, and app drawer as areas of improvement with the update.
Panasonic is set to enter the high-end smartphone market in Europe and Japan in the coming weeks with the waterproof and dustproof Eluga.
We first saw the Eluga at Mobile World Congress last month, and although it looks like a great phone on paper, with a dual-core CPU and qHD display, it disappointed us when we went hands-on. Nevertheless, this is still big news for the European market, where Panasonic isn't known as a smartphone brand at all.
When Panasonic announced the original ELUGA for the European smartphone market, we were a little underwhelmed. Today the ELUGA gets a new, awkwardly-capitalized older brother, the ELUGA power. True to its name, the device is considerably more powerful than its predecessor. Which is good, because this series needs all the help it can get.
Here's the rundown on the new hardware:
Panasonic's new smartphone, the Eluga (like the whale, minus the B), is actually a pretty decent looking device. On paper, and in person. Its dual-core TI OMAP4430 processor is a proven piece of kit in phones like the DROID RAZR, and it's 4.3" qHD display isn't bad looking at all. With 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, it actually sounds like it might even be good. Yeah, the thing is, it's not.
Until today, Panasonic had been keeping their high end Android phones to themselves in the Japanese market. That's about to change with the advent of the Eluga. Panasonic announced the new device today in Hamburg for release some time in March. We're promised that the phone will be waterproof and dustproof, which is great for all those times that you have your phone out in a dusty rain storm.
Here's a list of the key specs:
- 4.3" qHD display
- 8GB of onboard memory
- 8MP camera
- Dual-core 1Ghz processor
- Android 2.3
All in all, the device sounds like a fantastic device...for early 2011.
The makers of the darn-near invincible Toughbooks are taking on the tablet world. Today Panasonic announced the "Toughpad" family. There are 2 versions, the A1, a 10.1 incher; and the B1, a forthcoming 7 inch.
The A1 has a 10.1 inch, 4:3, XGA (1024x768), daylight viewable screen. It has capacitive touch and "offers" a stylus for handwriting recognition. The main feature though, is its ability to take your abuse. Get it wet, hot, cold, sandy, or drop it, and the Toughpad will keep on working.
Panasonic has announced a unique Android offering headed for Softbank, a Japanese carrier, officially unveiling the Lumix Phone 101P today.
The Lumix Phone looks almost exactly like a pocket-sized digital camera, except for its 4" touch screen and Android 2.3 software. Under its surprisingly slender frame, it houses some interesting specs:
- 4-inch QHD LCD screen with 960×540 resolution
- 13.2MP CMOS Lumix sensor with “Mobile Venus Engine“
- Waterproof body
- TI OMAP4430 dual-core CPU (1GHz)
- Ultra Speed compatibility (Softbank's broadband network)
- microSD card slot
- Infrared connection
- E-wallet function
- Digital TV tuner
- A sleek body (64×123×9.8mm)
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread
There's no word yet on pricing, or whether this phone will make an appearance in other countries, but it seems like a unique fusion between a point-and-shoot camera and a mobile phone, and it will be interesting to see how its 13.2MP sensor performs, especially next to Samsung's newly-announced 16MP sensors.