Panasonic to start selling Android smartphones in Japan in early 2011 [EU + US in 2012]

Panasonic is a brand most people associate with high end audio and video equipment, but the company is looking to change that by entering the smartphone space early next year according to Reuters. Their first Android powered devices are going to come out in Japan, and then hit overseas markets, hopefully Europe and America, in 2012. No word as to how they’re going to differentiate compared to other device makers, but we’re hoping they do things like use high quality materials, leave the operating system bone stock as Google intended it to be used, and add some high end audio processing chips so our music can sound oh so much better.

“We misjudged the speed at which smartphones would be taken up in the Japanese market,” said Osamu Waki, Head of Panasonic’s Mobile Communications Unit. “With the rapid shift to Android, we want to catch up quickly.”

The Japanese firm aims to ship 15 million Android devices in 2015, compared to 0 right now, so they’ve got a lot of catching up to do. They already have their prestigious brand, but they’ll be competing against the likes of Apple with their iPhone, Samsung with their Galaxy S and the upcoming dual core successor, plus Sharp, who earlier in the week told the press that their goal is to own 30% of the Japanese market in two to three years. Sharp also recently started selling their devices in India, so global expansion is already taking place.

High end Japanese smartphones are something we’ve been lusting over for a while now. Whether it be that feature phone LG released for DOCOMO that looks like a point and shoot camera, or the Sharp Android handset that features the same display that’s in the iPhone 4, we want companies to accelerate the pace of innovation to the point that any respectable writer covering the mobile space has to upgrade their device every 6 months.

Sounds insane, but hey, we love this stuff.

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