eluga 2 Panasonic gets back in the international phone business with the Eluga

Some of you might remember the days when Panasonic sold mobile phones outside of Japan, in fact, the company made some of the smallest, usable phones ever made shortly before pulling out of the global market. Panasonic has finally decided that it's time to get back into the global handset business again, but this time around we're talking smartphones and its upcoming Eluga handset bringing some of the Japanese tech to the rest of the world.

Some of you might remember the days when Panasonic sold mobile phones outside of Japan, in fact, the company made some of the smallest, usable phones ever made shortly before pulling out of the global market. Panasonic has finally decided that it's time to get back into the global handset business again, but this time around we're talking smartphones and its upcoming Eluga handset bringing some of the Japanese tech to the rest of the world.

For the time being the Panasonic Eluga will only be available in Europe, but it's likely that it will show up in other parts of the world. Some of the specifications are a bit underwhelming, while others have so far been anything but standard features on Android smartphones. Starting with the not so exciting, we're looking at 1GHz dual core Texas Instruments OMAP4430 SoC with PowerVR SGX540 graphics – hardly what you'd call cutting edge these days – 8GB of flash memory – again fairly average and what's worse is that there's no memory card slot – and finally 1GB of RAM, which at least isn't too bad.

eluga 1 Panasonic gets back in the international phone business with the Eluga

The screen is a 4.3-inch OLED unit with qHD resolution (960×540 pixels), which is still considered pretty good, albeit not super high-end any more with the latest crop of devices moving to 720p displays. The handset sports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, DLNA, a micro USB port, a GPS receiver, various sensors, an 8Megapixel camera and somewhat unusually – at least for the European market – NFC support. Another rare addition is that the handset is water and dust proof according to the IP57 standard which means that it can be submerged down to depths of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes without any of the internal components taking any damage. Finally it has a micro SIM slot, something that seems to become increasingly popular with the handset makers.

eluga 2 Panasonic gets back in the international phone business with the Eluga

The Eluga sports support for the 900 and 2100MHz UMTS bands, but oddly enough the UK spec page is also pointing towards a 900/1900MHz model, although it's possible that this is a typo. It supports download speeds of up to 21.1Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5.76Mbps. The 1,150mAh battery is sadly not removable and it's only good for 300h of standby and a meagre 240 minutes of talk time which compares poorly to the competition. Part of the reason for the small battery pack is the 7.8mm slim profile of the handset which also measures 123mm tall and 62mm wide, while weighing in at a fairly light 103g.

Things worthy of note on the software side includes the fact that the Eluga will ship with Android 2.3.5, but Panasonic is promising an update to Android 4.0 at a later point this year year, which may or may not be around the time that the handset ships. There's also native support for DivX video files, something that more often than not isn't the case on Android phones. If you happen to own a Panasonic VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-rau player – we're not sure as to which models are supported – then you'll also be able to use the Eluga as a remote for it.

eluga 3 Panasonic gets back in the international phone business with the Eluga

Panasonic will also be offering a selection of NFC tags for the Eluga which allows for profile changing and potentially a few other options. Panasonic is expecting to have the Eluga in the European market by April, although there's no word on pricing as yet. As a side note, Panasonic is hoping to sell at least 1.5 million smartphones in Europe over the next 12 months, but we'd have to say that the company is going to have to do a little bit better than the Eluga to get there. We also found a short video of the new handset from Panasonic Spain which you can find below.

Source: Panasonic