Panasonic's First Europe-Bound Android Smartphone "Reference Design" Unveiled

By Sam Gibbs on at

We heard rumours of Panasonic's re-entry into the UK market, but now it's been confirmed that in March next year, we'll see a Euro-Panasonic smartphone roll-out. A 4.3-inch Android phone reference design was shown off too, which shows Panasonic's heading in the right direction for a decent looking phone, at the very least.

The main characteristics of this "global model" are, according to Panasonic: decent ergonomics with a "ultra-slim D-shape" (hear that iPhone 4S? Ergonomic); a qHD 4.3-inch OLED display; and water and dustproofing -- which'll help it stand up to your midnight walks in the rain and the dreaded pocket dander.

We don't know much more than that, although the capacitive buttons on the fascia don't look all that promising for Ice Cream Sandwich at launch. Panasonic's also targeting the phone at "business people in their 30s and 40s" according to Reuters, which smacks to me of BlackBerry territory. The Japanese electronics giant is intending base an expanded line up on the reference design, so we'll see more than just one phone by the sounds of it. If Panasonic sticks with stock Android and doesn't try and shoe-horn its own skin on top, we could see a decent competitor to the likes of Samsung, HTC and Motorola in the Android UK market. Here's hoping Panasonic doesn't screw it up and saddle its phone with Gingerbread come March time. [Panasonic, Reuters via The Verge]