Panasonic is certainly keeping busy, with nine new phones announced at 3GSM in Cannes. As you’d expect, there’s a wide selection of phones on offer, including the company’s first 2-megapixel camera handset and an upgrade for the X700 smartphone in the form of the X800. So we’re expecting Panasonic to be getting a bit more active in the mobile market this year.
First up, the VS7 2-megapixel phone (top left), is joined by the VS3 (second left), a 1.3-megapixel cameraphone. Both VS Series clamshells have high resolution screens that support 16 million colours. The VS3 is evidentally aimed at the youth market, since the phone can read emoticons in text messages and flash different coloured lights depending on the mood of the message. A feature that leaves us almost entirely crippled by a wave of bitter tutting and eye-rolling.
The MX Series, the MX7 and MX6, are "maximum endurance" phones – or at least their batteries are, providing almost double the battery life of the VS handsets. The MX7 is also a 2-megapixel handset, with a 2.5-inch, 16 million-colour screen, while the MX6 is, same as the VS3, a 1.3-megapixel cameraphone with a 2.2-inch LCD. In fact, if they sound similar to the VS series it’s because they are, arriving in the same chassis the first two use. It seems just the battery and some of the extra features are different.
The SA Series handsets are pretty familiar looking as well (pictured above), sporting a different paint job in an otherwise identical casing. The SA handsets are being aimed at outdoorsy types, hence the more outrageous colour. SA7 is as above: 2-megapixel camera, 2.5-inch display and a longer battery life. The SA6 is identical to the MX6, but a different colour (it’s like they’re purposely trying to complicate matters).
On to the SC Series, which is the ‘stylish camera or colour’ range (shorthand for minimalist black or white phones). Finally we get to see a different chassis. These handsets are candybar in black or white. The SC3 is a basic fashion phone, with 65k colour LCD, VGA camera and an emoticon feature that lets you put proper smiley faces into your poorly expressed texts. The A210 is also part of the SC series, despite not having the right name, and it’s pretty much identical to the SC3 apart from the white colour and a more rounded design.
So, there may not be *quite* as many phones on offer as it initially sounds, but this is a strong new line up, with a couple of nice cases and some appealing features. But wouldn’t it have been easier just to have called all those clamshells the same thing with "sport" and "endurance" versions instead of all these different series numbers. You just think about that, Panasonic. I need a lie down after all that.