Panasonic is set to pull out of the European mobile phone market less than a year after the company returned to it.
The Japanese firm had been out of the European mobile market for some seven years when it decided to return earlier in 2012. Now Japanese news outlet Nikkei is reporting that the company will be withdrawing again.
As pointed out by The Verge, Reuters is taking a slightly more cautious view, but still reckons that Panasonic may withdraw some time over the next six months.
In April the company launched a new Android-powered handset called the Eluga, which was intended to be the first of a new range of international smartphone devices. From our initial hands-on time with the device back in February we found it to be highly promising.
The Eluga was slim, light, tough and water-proof, with a 4.3-inch qHD OLED display and a 1GHz dual-core CPU, pitching it at a similar upper mid-range level to the Sony Xperia P.
Panasonic clearly had big plans for the Eluga and its followers, and announced its intentions to sell 15 million handsets worldwide in 2015. However, a strong yen and Europe’s own financial woes appear to have put paid to such ambitious plans.
Following a record loss last year, Panasonic has halved the workforce at its Osaka head office and stopped smartphone production at its one remaining Japanese factory, moving it instead to Malaysia.
Panasonic’s new boss, Kazuhiro Tsuga has opted to revive the flagging company by cutting money-losing parts of the business, and it appears its European mobile arm falls into that category.