Panasonic named its two new Android handsets ELUGA, an acronym of sorts for "elegant user-oriented gateway," to symbolize the slim pair of phones that aim to combine both design and function. The electronics manufacturer introduced the ELUGA and ELUGA Power handsets this past week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, extending the number of Android devices unveiled at the show from the likes of LG, Samsung, HTC, Sony, Viewsonic and Huawei, just to name a few.
While most handset manufacturers claim the phone already combines design and functionality, the features on the ELUGA phones measure up. One standout feature: both phones are both waterproof and dustproof, so you can go about your business and not worry about every little spill near your handset. The phones are compliant with the international standard IP57 water and dustproofing standard. You might not want to take either phone for a swim, but the ELUGA line can withstand up to a depth of one meter (3.28-feet) of water for up to one hour. The phones are also protected up to 75 micrometers of dust for a period of up to eight hours.
To start with design, the D-shape, slim form factor of the ELUGA is designed not to ruin the line of clothes when in your pocket. The backside is curved in such a way that you won't see the telltale rectangular outline through your jeans. In addition to the D-shape chassis, the 7.8 mm (0.31-in) thickness of the phone makes it even more pocket-friendly. The 4.3-inch 960x540 capacitive OLED QHD display takes up 66 percent of the phone's body.
The ELUGA uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to conduct contactless payments such as the Google Wallet. Additional wireless functions include "Swipe and Share" features that let users wirelessly "throw" pictures from phone to a TV or cloud service and stream movies from the ELUGA to a TV.
Panasonic built the phone with an 8-megapixel autofocus camera, and 8 GB of integrated memory. A 1 GHz dual-core processor running Android Gingerbread makes it possible to access data and apps quickly. An upgrade to Android Ice Cream Sandwich will be available over the summer.
Power is king with this Panasonic handset. The 1800 mAh battery reaches 50 percent of its charge capacity in roughly half an hour; and 80 percent in 57 minutes. The phone is built using Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The ELUGA Power offers NFC capabilities for contactless payment. The handset has 8 GB of internal memory and supports an additional 32 GB via a Micro SD card slot. The 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera captures 1080p full HD video and includes auto scene recognition and 8x digital zoom. Details were not given on the power of the front-facing camera.
Both the ELUGA and ELUGA Power will be released in Europe in April. The ELUGA is expected to cost between EUR399 and 449 (approx. US$536 - $603), however Panasonic hasn't announced official pricing.