Panasonic once sold feature phones in Europe and China, but left those markets in 2005 due to shrinking margins and increased competition. In Japan their Lumix series of smartphones continue to be popular, and Panasonic has decided that now is the right time to re-enter the global market.
According to sources, Panasonic is currently negotiating with a “major telecom firm” based in Europe. It is expected that the European launch would proceed launches in North American and Asian markets. Panasonic hopes that by 2015 it will be shipping half of its output, or about 7.5 million Android powered smartphones, to markets outside of Japan.
At this point it’s unknown whether Panasonic plans to use designs similar to those it offers in Japan, or if they will develop products specifically for their new markets. It will be interesting to see whether Panasonic plans to leverage the Lumix brand, or create new branding for their smartphones. Panasonic will be bringing the rugged Android Toughpad A1 tablet to many of the same markets it plans to ship phones to in 2012.
Perhaps a “Toughphone” could be in the offing?
source: Reuters via unwired view.com