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. The waterproof feature is sure to give the phone a head start against its competitors; in case you didn't know, it tends to rain a lot in England...

The Eluga will see the light of day in Japan first, with a March 29 launch on NTT Docomo. A European release, which was originally slated for March, has been pushed back to April and there is no official word on what carriers will offer the device just yet.

At launch, the Eluga will ship with Android 2.3.5, but Panasonic says that we can expect an upgrade to Android 4.0 this summer.

Sources: NTT Docomo, Panasonic via The Verge