updated 06:55 pm EST, Thu November 24, 2011
Panasonic said in carrier talks for smartphones
Panasonic's rejuvenated plans for an international smartphone launch were revived after a potential scoop from Japan's Nikkei [sub. required]. The Japanese electronics firm was reportedly in talks with a major carrier that operates at least within Europe. Asia and North America were also part of the plans, the business paper said.
The phones would run Android, although little else was mentioned about their hardware. About 7.5 million Panasonic phones would be sold outside of Japan after being made either by Panasonic's southeast Asian plants or through a contractor. The sales would mark roughly half of Panasonic's total phone output.
Officials didn't confirm the leak.
Most likely, any entrants would be high-end phones such as the P-02D Lumix Phone, a high-end, waterproof design with a 13.2-megapixel camera.
Panasonic's arrival would mark a rare new but still major entrant into the smartphone space in countries outside of Japan. The company had previously had a limited presence in Europe but backed out in 2005 after it had trouble competing with basic feature phones. A return would make it one of the few major Japanese companies to compete with not just other Android makers like HTC, Motorola, and Samsung but with Apple, which is normally immune from competition from Japan in other countries.