Panasonic ELUGA hits Japan March 29 ahead of April Euro debut

Panasonic's ELUGA waterproof smartphone will go on sale on March 29 in Japan as the NTT docomo NEXT series P-04D, offering 4.3-inches of slimline dunkable Android. Available exclusively in purple, the new handset is up for pre-order in Japan today for existing NTT docomo subscribers. Announced at Mobile World Congress last month – where we went hands-on and promptly dropped the ELUGA underwater – the phone marks Panasonic's attempt to clamber back into the smartphone segment.

Although Panasonic has offered smartphones in Japan for some time now, devices outside of the country have been conspicuous by their absence. That's all going to change in 2012, the company hopes, with an ambitious plan to push its Android-powered range in the European market with a 1.5m sales goal this year alone.

The ELUGA – or P-04D – is the first step in that, and will be followed by the larger ELUGA Power. An actual European release date is yet to be confirmed, though Panasonic is pointing to an April window for the ELUGA. Meanwhile the ELUGA Power went up for pre-order at the top end of this month, priced at £399 pre-tax ($633) for a late April release.

The P-04D supports VIERA streaming for owners that also have a Panasonic TV, along with WiFi Direct and an OLED display. More details in our hands-on.

[via The Verge]