Panasonic has officially named its first smartphone for Europe, the Panasonic Eluga. A 4.3-inch Android handset which is dustproof, waterproof, and a generally touch and resilient smartphone. It was fist reveled in December 2011 but then unnamed and without an official release date. The Eluga is now planned to arrive in Europe during April 2012.
The device uses a qHD 960 x 540 OLED display and also will support NFC. It uses a super-thin frame and a big screen with a 66% display area ratio. Panasonic say the design is very ergonomic, that should make it easy to control everything with one hand. Hinting that it might be able to also work as a remote control for Panasonic HDTVs.
Measurements are: 123 x 62 x 7.8 mm and the device weighs only 103g
The Eluga has a 1GHz dual core processor from Texas Instruments, 1GB RAM and 8GB integrated memory. It supports Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC and DNLA. It also comes with a 8MP Auto Focus camera in the back, however it seems there is no front facing camera. It uses a integrated battery at 1.150 mAh, which seems a bit small but ELUGA’s Eco Mode, at least according to Panasonic, should help you to save energy and to achieve a longer battery life. If the power of your battery falls below a defined amount, ELUGA automatically turns off certain functionalities and changes setting.
Seems the devices starts shipping with Android Gingerbread (Version 2.3.5), but updates to Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) should come during Spring 2012. Hopefully before the launch Panasonic rethinks this and ships directly with ICS instead. Even though the name Eluga sounds a bit strange it is a beautiful device they have come up with. Being waterproof certified by IP57 and promoted as a generally touch and resilient smartphone, I do wonder however how long it will stay pretty in the wrong hands.