Panasonic Eluga Android smartphone unveiled
Demonstrates full network integration with Smart Viera TVs
Panasonic has officially announced that it will be entering the UK smartphone market, launching its first device next month.
Although relatively well known as a mobile phone maker in Japan, the company is better known for home entertainment products in Europe and the US. It's hoping to change that with the launch of the Eluga, which is due to land some time next month.
Based around Google's popular Android mobile platform, the touch-screen device boasts a 4.3in display with 960x540 widescreen resolution and a slim and rounded profile that will remind some of the design used for the Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone handset. Measuring just 7.8mm thick, it's a very slim handset.
The rear of the Eluga includes a large lens and the phone with have an 8-megapixel camera. We also got to preview of a future technology, which allows a compatible Lumix camera to form an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection with an Eluga phone, sending everything the camera can see to the phone's screen in real time, allowing you to remotely control the camera using the phone.
To encourage those who have already splashed out on Panasonic home-entertainment equipment, Panasonic has confirmed that it will be bundling software with the handset that allows it to work as a remote control for compatible home theatre systems.
It also means that you'll get features such as the ability to instantly transfer photos, videos and web pages from your phone to your TV with the flick of a finger.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Eluga, however, is its robustness. Thanks to its sealed chassis, the device is water- and dust-resistant (IP57 certification), allowing it to be used in conditions that would give other smartphones cause for concern. It can withstand depths of up to 1m in water for up to 30 minutes, while dust 75 micrometers or less in diameter will be kept out for up to eight hours of continuous exposure.
Near-Field Communication (NFC) is built in, theoretically allowing you to use your phone to pay for goods and services, although it's currently not very well supported.
Otherwise, the Eluga is well specified with a 1GHz dual-core processor and 8GB of RAM. Initially, the phone will come with Android 2.3.5, but an update to Ice Cream Sandwich will be available from summer 2012.
Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but Panasonic has stated that the Eluga will be reaching shop selves some time next month.