Mobile News: Panasonic Will Launch Android Phone in 2012

Europe is the target of Panasonic Corp. as the continent they want to launch a smartphone running in Android operating system. The company is the latest maker from Japan to join late in a very competitive market lead by Apple and Samsung Electronics in terms of market share.

The decision made by Panasonic came after six years it abandoned sales of its feature phones in overseas and weeks after its president Fumio Ohtsubo announced his plan to reduce television production in line with the company’s plan to quickly shift from consumer electronics to environmental and energy technology.

Panasonic will launch the new model of smartphone in March and will expand later in the U.S. and Asia. The company estimates to sell 15 million units from 2012 to March 2016 with 9 million of those abroad.
The company’s head of mobile communications unit Toshinori Hoshi said they are aware of their strong competitors but they are also aware that market shares are changing dramatically. They believe that launching in a fast-changing market; they have a better chance to compete.

The company is only targeting a little share in the market which IDC expects to become bigger by 55 per cent in 2015 which has already 472 million units this year.

However, the strong market growth hardly benefits the heavyweights in the playing field such as the world’s no. 4 smartphone maker Taiwan’s HTC Corp. which are having difficulty to compete. Also, South Korean company LG Electronics declared a net loss in its smartphone business and announced a $945 million rights issue to the revival.
Panasonic acknowledges its mistake in not taking any chances of the market potential of smartphones at first.

Analyst Keita Wakabayashi of Tokyo, Japan-based Mito Securities said that the move of Panasonic to go overseas is not surprising however their presence is weaker as compared to few years ago in its mobile business and it is also not as strong company as a whole that it once was.

Meanwhile, Sony Corp. is also making a move to get substantial share in smartphones by buying out half of Ericsson’s phone in their joint venture for 1.05 billion euros and many experts believe the move could bring Sony to a better chance of success.

According to Panasonic, its new smartphone has yet to be named which features a 4.3-inch OLED screen. The company is targeting businesspeople aged in their 30s and 40s.

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