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
  • NFC
  • 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. Panasonic has promised to bring Android 4.0 to the device by summer of 2012, though by that time we should expect quad-core phones to be out on the market, so it's a little unclear why one would buy this phone based on specs.

The design of the phone, on the hand, might not be a bad reason to buy the device. For a manufacturer that hasn't produced a smartphone since 2006, the Eluga doesn't look horrible. A brushed metal casing houses the OLED display, with three capacitive buttons along the bottom edge of the device. The device is largely featureless, though one could argue this minimalistic approach is better than making a phone octagon-shaped for no adequately-explained reason.

Hopefully we'll hear more details about this device—like pricing and availability—at MWC next week.


Panasonic Launches ELUGA

Stylish and slim Android smartphone in Europe, back with a splash: Panasonic dives into Europe with a slim, stylish and waterproof smartphone. Panasonic Europe has unveiled its new smartphone – the ELUGA – an ultra-slim, high specification waterproof smartphone for the style conscious.

The ELUGA – whose name stems from the phrase ‘elegant user-oriented gateway’ – weighs in at just 103g, making it the lightest Android™ smartphone in Europe. As well as being waterproof, the ELUGA packs one of the largest screen ratio on the market – with a display comprising 66% of the phone’s body, thanks to its super-thin frame.
With a 7.8mm profile along the entire length of the phone, the ultra-slim D shape is designed not to ruin the line of clothes – even the ELUGA’s high quality 8MP camera lens lies flat against the phone’s chassis.

The phone specifications include:

● An ultra-slim D shaped design, with a slender 123x62.0x7.8mm frame.
● International standard IP57 water and dustproofing. Protected for up to a depth of 1 metre for up to 30 minutes in water, and protected against dust (75 micrometers or less in diameter/no harmful deposit) if left near or in it for eight hours or less.
● Near-field communication (NFC) technology, meaning the phone is ready for ‘no touch’ interactions, including contactless payments.
● A 4.3 inch, 960x540, capacitive OLED QHD screen with one of the largest display area ratio on the market.
● Swipe and Share, letting users wirelessly ‘throw’ pictures from their phone to a TV or cloud service, or stream movies from their phone to a TV. The VieraRemote app also enables the phone to be used as a remote control for other electronic devices in the home (such as a Viera TV, DIGA Blu-ray player and recorder, home cinema system, or digital still camera).
● An 8MP autofocus camera, with 8GB of integrated memory.
● A 1GHz dual-core processor ( OMAP4430 ), with Android Gingerbread (version 2.3.5) on-board, to be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich from summer 2012.

The ELUGA will also feature ‘eco mode’, Panasonic's unique power-saving technology which provides significant environmental benefit by shutting down non-essential features when the phone is running low on battery power.
Toshiya Matsumura, General Manager, Head of Mobile Communications, Panasonic System Communications Europe, said: “Despite the unprecedented increase in the number of smartphone devices appearing over the last few years, we don’t believe anyone has yet managed to truly bridge the gap between style and substance. With the launch of the ELUGA, we’re aiming to prove it is possible to deliver style, function, form, and the very best underlying technology, all in a competitively-priced package.”