Panasonic leaves the consumer smartphone business

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A published report in Japan says that Japanese manufacturer Panasonic is pulling out of the consumer smartphone business. Unlike fellow Japanese manufacturer Sony, which has been turning out popular smartphone models, Panasonic has not been able to come up with a model that has been able to capture the attention of U.S.consumers. The company launched the Panasonic ELUGA back in 2011 and the water and dust resistant Android model failed to grab any carrier support.

In its home country, Panasonic was the largest cellphone producer in 2001 with 19% of the market, a figure that has shriveled down to 7%. That trails the 24% owned by the Apple iPhone. In leaving the consumer smartphone market, Panasonic will allow other manufacturers to use its name in emerging markets. According to Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga, the company’s mobile business is expected to lose 1.1 billion yen ($11 million USD) for the fiscal year ending in March. That is an improvement from the last fiscal year when it lost 8.1 billion yen ($81 million). The executive added that “It’s not acceptable for the company to be bleeding red ink like this, so we have to think about ways to develop assets that we do have in a more effective direction.”

Panasonic is the second Japanese smartphone manufacturer to leave the business following NEC’s decision in July to exit the field. But Panasonic will still produce a Toughbook line of smartphones for those in rugged business lines.

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