Several weeks ago we heard some murmurs that Panasonic was looking for a public relations firm to handle an as yet to be announced entrance into the European smartphone market. Today they’ve made the news official. Panasonic has just announced that they’ll start selling Android smartphones in Europe as early as March 2012 with a goal of selling 15 million devices per year globally by the end of their 2016 fiscal year. Their first device will have a 4.3 inch quarterHD OLED screen, NFC, and be both water and dust proof. No further details were made available. We don’t know what version of Android this thing will run, whether there’s a dual or a single core inside, how many megapixels the camera has, what it’ll be called, and most importantly how much said device will cost. Oddly enough, we do know who Panasonic is targeting with this device. It’s the “businesspeople aged in their 30s and 40s” demographic.
We wish these folks the best of luck since competition will only help to make the market even more relentless when it comes to innovating. If Panasonic’s ultra slim device really is water and dust proof, then maybe we’ll see that feature become a standard on every smartphone? Also let’s not forget that no one outside of Japan has seen the user interface tweaks that Panasonic has done to Android. Maybe there’s something in there that makes so much sense that Apple, Google, and Microsoft will steal the idea and bake it into the next versions of their respective operating systems? And another thing, Panasonic already has a strong brand, unlike HTC, Huawei, ZTE, who all had to start from scratch. Panasonic branded consumer electronics has been around since the 1960s in America and since the 1970s in Europe. That history will help them when consumers see their Android smartphone on store shelves next year.