flash 01 Panasonic Announces The LUMIX Softbank 001P: Another Camera Turned Phone?

It seems like LG is not the only electronics company to have thought of squeezing a phone into an actual camera. Apparently, Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has also been toying around with the same idea itself, and today, the results of its research are here for all to see. We take a look at some of the details and features of Panasonic’s own camera-turned-phone device, the Panasonic LUMIX Softbank 001P.

Read on to find out more about the LUMIX Softbank 001P.

0panasonic logo66 Panasonic Announces The LUMIX Softbank 001P: Another Camera Turned Phone?

Barely 24 hours ago, we posted a news story about LG pulling a world’s first by releasing a digital camera which had the features of a smartphone crammed into it. This, of course, was in stark contrast to most OEM’s current practice of going about it in the other way: ie, squeezing a camera into a phone. Needless to say, it did make for some raised eyebrows due to its highly unconventional design and purpose.

However, it appears that LG may already have to deal with competition from the likes of Panasonic themselves. Apparently, the Japanese electronics company had also been toying around with the concept of a camera-turned-phone device as well, for Panasonic has also just recently announced its new LUMIX Softbank 001P digital camera phone.

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According to Panasonic’s Japanese homepage, the LUMIX Softbank 001P will use a variant of its own Venus processing engine found in virtually all its LUMIX-branded digital cameras. Known as the Mobile VenusEngine, Panasonic claims that its use in the LUMIX Softbank 001P will result in extremely sharp images with vivid colour reproduction. Furthermore, the Mobile VenusEngine is supposedly intelligent enough to automatically compensate for light reflection from the LUMIX Softbank 001P’s flash, which in turn ensures decent images shot under night-time conditions. The phone also sports a 13.2 megapixel sensor, a remarkably high resolution considering its size.

Unlike the LG L-03C phone which abandons the typical smartphone form factor in favor of that of a compact digital camera, the LUMIX Softbank 001P seemingly attempts to strike a balance between both extremes. While it still has a dedicated shutter button and a form factor which resembles that of a typical point-and-shoot digital camera, it is clear that the 001P designed to be more phone than camera. This is backed up by the fact that the 001P has its own dedicated keypad and buttons for various phone-related features, as shown below: 

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But more importantly, the images suggest that the lenses used in the phone lack the Leica branding, which is one of the key selling points of Panasonic’s line of LUMIX-branded cameras.

Last but not least, Panasonic has also announced that the LUMIX Softbank 001P will come with the “Jumping Picture” feature (direct machine translation), which allows a user to easily share photos stored in the phone over 3G or WiFi networks. But there is a little twist here: the company claims that picture sharing over public WiFi access points is not supported. If a user wants to make use of the sharing feature over WiFi, a mobile WiFi connection is required.

And now, we come to the most important questions about pricing and availability. Unfortunately, there is none: Panasonic’s website makes no mention of any pricing for the LUMIX Softbank 001P; neither did it provide any information about local or global availability. What we do know, though, is that the phone will be available in four different colors: magenta, gold, black and ‘Sutoratosufiaburu’ (which is most likely refering to the blue handset used for illustration purposes).

Still, given that the vast majority of phones developed for the Japanese market seldom (if ever) make their way out of the country, chances of getting a LUMIX phone locally appears to be rather slim.

 
Specifications:

 Dimensions (L x W x H when closed)  Approx 116 x 52 x 17mm
 Weight Approximately 146g
 Main display Up to about 3.3 inch full color TFT 262K VGA
 Touchscreen technology Electrostatic
 Image sensor resolution Approximately 13.2 million pixels (CMOS)
 Auto-Focus Supported on both stills and videos
 AF-tracking Still images only
 Shake reduction Supported on both stills and videos
 Digital zoom 16.3x (still), 7.8-fold (videos)

Source: Panasonic Japan, Panasonic Softbank