Wouldn’t ya know it, but Panasonic was spot on with its announcement of the Eluga smartphone’s European arrival this month. The elegant, waterproof handset is now available unlocked from Expansys, where it retails for £369 and approximately €460, with slight variations among countries. While the phone supports quadband GSM, its UMTS / HSPA connectivity is limited to the 2100MHz and 900MHz bands, which makes it less than ideal for North American use — though, if you really want one, it seems safe to peg this one in the $600 territory.
Similarly available through NTT DoCoMo as the P-04D, we first managed to get a hands-on with the Eluga at Mobile World Congress. For those in need of a quick refresh, the phone features a TI OMAP 4430 SoC with a dual-core 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, an 8 megapixel rear camera and a rather paltry 1,150mAh battery. The Eluga includes a heavily-skinned version of Android 2.3.5, although an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich has been pegged for release this summer. The phone represents Panasonic’s return to the smartphone arena, and while it’s a bit behind the curve, it’s no doubt a fine starting point.