Panasonic launched its first smartphone in Europe, the Eluga, two days ago and while the move must be encouraged, there are still a few essential features missing from the phone.
1. The phone's name
While Panasonic has used some fairly random names in the past like Viera or Lumix, Eluga sounds too much like with Beluga (the fish which produces the Beluga Caviar). Panasonic explained that the name stands for "ELegant, User-orientated GatewAy." That didn't prevent many of our peers from making a quip on the name. Compare that name with those of other rivals; Xperia, Optimus, Galaxy, Atrix, Ideos, Liquid Metal. A great sounding name goes a long way towards establishing a brand. And vice versa.
2. Flash at the back
There's no flash at the back next to the camera sensor. It is puzzling as to why the company chose to keep a component that's worth a few dollars but can literally change a user's experience, out of the bill of materials. Camera phones without flash are an anachronism and an unacceptable omission from Panasonic given that even entry level smartphones like the Acer Liquid Metal have one.
3. Bigger storage and/or Memory Card Slot
The Eluga comes with 8GB onboard storage and is half what we would expect from a mainstream Android-based handset without a memory card slot (the Galaxy Nexus has 16GB). Why would Panasonic leave out the option to add additional storage? We're unsure.
4. A Front facing camera
Another inexplicable omission in an otherwise decent smartphone is the lack of a front facing camera. Most mainstream Android smartphones have front facing camera but Panasonic decided not to have it on the Eluga even though it costs only a few dollars to add to the bill of materials.