Last year brought us news of a couple smartphone OEMs hanging up their hats, deciding that they were no longer interested in releasing any new handsets. First we saw NEC say goodbye over the summer, followed a few months later by Panasonic. In the case of Panasonic, the company said that it would still make feature phones, and that it might release some specialty smartphones (like ruggedized devices for police or the military) but that it was done with regular mass market smartphones. And indeed, back in January we learned that Panasonic was doing just that, coming out with an industry-focused phone running Windows 8 embedded. But now there’s another new Panasonic model launching and this one really is a regular smartphone; so much for retirement.
The Panasonic P31 is coming to India, running a quad-core 1.3GHz SoC, sporting a five-inch FWVGA display, and packing 1GB RAM with 4GB internal storage (microSD expandable). It runs Android 4.2, supports dual SIMs, and has an eight-megapixel main camera – none of this is very compelling on its own, and a price that works out to the equivalent of about $200 doesn’t sound great (though admittedly, it’s not too far off from its low-end five-inch Android competition in India), but we’re more interested in the fact that Panasonic is still making phones like this at all.
We haven’t heard any formal announcement about this change of heart, but whatever Panasonic’s reasoning may be, it seems like we haven’t heard the last from its smartphones just yet.