When you think of your Android smartphone, underwater would seemto be the very last place you’d want the phone to go, but Panasonic has otherideas. The Eluga handset, which is scheduled for launch in Europe in April of2012, not only doesn’t mind getting wet…it’s actually designed for it. In fact,it sports in IP57 certificate, which means it can be safely held underwater ata depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.
The Eluga, which is the first smartphone from Panasonic toappear outside of Japan, is based on the Gingerbread OS, but with an Ice CreamSandwich update planned for June of 2012.
Panasonic’s international debut is certain to cause a bit ofa splash thanks to the waterproof hook, but it’s not surprising. While many other smartphone manufacturers arededicated almost solely to the craft of making phones, Panasonic has a muchdeeper corporate pool to draw from. Not only can it tap into the cameraexpertise it has in its Lumix division, and the industrial design skills foundthroughout the rest of its consumer electronics divisions, but Panasonic’sacquisition of Sanyo means it can also tap into the expertise found in thatcompany’s waterproof camera division.
This type of cross-divisional expertise worked well with Sony’sTablet S, so it’s easy to see how this could be a net plus for the Eluga. Andwhile the waterproof angle is almost certainly aimed at being able to shootunderwater at the pool, it does provide a bit of insurance, too: think of howmany times your phone has nearly fallen from your hands when you’re at thelake. (Let’s not even talk about the number of people who’ve dunked their phoneinto the toilet by mistake while playing Angry Birds.)
The Eluga is set to launch with a 1 GHz dual-core TIprocessor, 1 GB of memory and 8 GB of onboard storage. It’ll come with an 8megapixel camera that does video, too. And best, it’ll sport Near FieldCommunication, which will allow the phone to exchange data wirelessly with justa touch against another device.
While the Elugs has only been announced for Europe so far,there’s a lot of speculation that it may get a North American launch date whenMobile World Congress gets underway next week in Barcelona, Spain. Keep yourfingers crossed…but keep a firm grip on your phone near the water, while you're waiting!