Already big in Japan, Panasonic has announced that it plans to take on the world’s smartphone manufacturers and make the leap into the European market.
And over the longer term, the Japanese electronics giant intends to use Europe as a stepping stone to a larger slice of the global market.
“With the mobile phone market rapidly shifting to smartphone usage worldwide and a steady growth expected particularly overseas, Panasonic aims to tap into this growth with its first global model smartphone for the European market in March 2012,” the company said.
The new global model will have an ultra-slim D-shaped design for easy portability, the company said, along with a slim bezel with high viewing quality on its 4.3-inch large organic light emitting diode screen and a waterproof and dust-proof shell.
Japanese phone makers have been responding to the challenge thrown down my Apple Inc.’s iPhone, with both KDDI Corp. and NTT DoCoMo announcing plans for new handsets equipped with a range of new functions.
Innovation and ingenious designs are being used to whittle away at the U.S. firm’s lead in the market, with many of the new devices featuring the Android 2.3 operating system and functions such as the “mobile phone wallet,” infrared light communication and emails. Most also support Win High Speed, the expanded system that permits downlink speeds of up to 9.2 Mbps and a maximum uplink rate of 5.5 Mbps.
Panasonic has set a sales target of 1.5 million smartphones in Europe in the next fiscal year. For fiscal 2016, the company is aiming for global sales of 15 million units, of which 9 million will be in Europe, the U.S., China and the rest of Asia.
A further 6 million units will be sold on the domestic market, of which 5 million will be smartphones.
Panasonic created a new company to handle the expanded production and sales targets, with the new global model scheduled to be produced at an existing factory in Malaysia.