Panasonic launches Eluga U in India for Rs 18,990, says India is its mobile headquarters

PanasonicJapanese consumer durables major Panasonic has further expanded its smartphone portfolio in India with the launch of a new device. Christened Eluga U, the smartphone sports a 5 inch display and runs on the Android operating system. Targeted at the mid-price range segment of the smartphone market, it is available for purchase for Rs 18,990.

Note that this is not the first Eluga smartphone by Panasonic. Back in 2012, the company had introduced a number of Eluga devices (like Eluga DL1 and Eluga Power) for the European market.

India as mobile headquarters

Panasonic, which has been launching a number of smartphones in the country at regular intervals this year, has also stated that India is the headquarters for its handset business.

"India is a very important market and that is the reason why it is also the headquarters for the phone business for us. There is a huge opportunity here for companies like us, who want to offer quality products at right prices," Manish Sharma, MD, Panasonic India told PTI.

According to Sharma, the company currently enjoys a 3 per cent market share in India but wants to increase this number to 5 per cent in the next one year. For the same, it will launch 15 smartphones and eight feature phones in 2014. While the company will offer devices across price points, its sweet spot will be the Rs 16,500-20,000 price range.

Here is a look at the specifications of the device.

It sports a 5 inch HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display (720x1280 pixels resolution) with 294 ppi pixel density and runs on the Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system. The smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor and has 2GB of RAM. The internal memory of the device is 16GB, which can be further expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card.

Eluga U has a 13 megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED Flash that can also record full high definition videos (1080p) at 30 frames per second, and a 2MP front facing camera for video calling. On the connectivity front, it has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi & 3G, as well as a microSD card slot and a microUSB port.

The dimensions of the device are 141.5mm x 71.3mm x 7.95mm and its weight is 141gm. Panasonic has provided a 2,500 mAh battery in the device, which also has FM radio with RDS. The smartphone comes with dual-SIM capability and GPS (with A-GPS support). It is available in black and white colours.

The company has also added a number of features in the UI that include Kwik Lock- users can simply double tap to wake the smartphone; Fit Home UI- enables one hand operation by keeping the app drawer in lower half of the screen; Pop-i-player; and Gesture play, among others.

In the price range at which it is being offered, the smartphone will compete with the likes of Lenovo Vibe X (Rs 18,490), Sony Xperia M2 Dual (Rs 19,299), XOLO Q1000S (Rs 17,999), Lenovo S820 (Rs 18,500), and Gionee E7 Mini (Rs 17,599), among others.

However we feel that new entrants in the Indian smartphone market like Obi Mobiles, a venture of ex-Apple CEO John Scully's Inflexionpoint, and Chinese smartphone sensation Xiaomi can also give Panasonic a run for its money. While Obi Mobiles' flagship device Octopus S520 is available for Rs 11,990, you can get your hands on Xiaomi's Mi3 for as low as Rs 13,999.

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