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29th February 2012
Panasonic determined to make cameras and TV better partners
by Ian Burley

Panasonic sees a future where your camera and smartphone will be more easily hooked up to your TV

In Hamburg last week Panasonic Europe unveiled its 2012 product line up and technology developments

Panasonic, like many of its competitors in the TV market, is set to reveal huge losses. But my understanding is that the Panasonic Lumix camera division is not doing too badly. Lumix is part of the Panasonic AVC Networks division that includes still and video cameras, TVs, and multimedia storage products from BluRay to SD cards. The basic problem is that there is an oversupply in the TV market. This will be a big challenge for the entire industry and is likely to lead to reductions in manufacturing capacity somewhere, but Panasonic also wants the versatility of TVs to improve and help rejuvenate sales. Connecting cameras and smartphones to TVs more easily and making this an attractive feature is part of that strategy.

The Panasonic AVC Networks divisions covers TVs, cameras and digital media storage products

Wireless connectivity is a feature that has largely been overlooked by the camera industry. There are literally hundreds of millions of smartphones in use now that can take pictures and transfer them wirelessly to other devices or directly to the Internet. This year we are seeing more wifi-connected digital cameras than ever before, but they are still limited to high-end models. Panasonic has clearly reacted to this situation and showed us some development ideas for wireless connectivity with cameras.

Panasonic showed us Lumix compact cameras wirelessly streaming to Panasonic Viera network-enabled TVs. Slide shows, without cables, in your living room playing on your big-screen TV will be a reality soon. Panasonic is also getting into cloud services for its TVs and is likely to involve camera and smartphone access to such services.

You can already download a Panasonic app that lets you use a touch screen gesture on an Android smartphone to slide a photo from your phone to a TV. Panasonic also demonstrated a smartphone controlling an experimental Lumix compact camera.

The curiously named Panasonic Eluga Android smartphone is another weapon in Panasonic's arsenal to persuade us that TVs are more versatile than we might realised

The Panasonic Eluga has an 8 megapixel camera and you will be able to use this Android smartphone to control Panasonic Lumix cameras of the future and your Panasonic Viera TV

After being out of the mobile phone market since 2007, Panasonic is returning this year with an interesting looking Android smartphone called 'Eluga'. Panasonic continues to be a leading mobile phone brand in Japan and it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Panasonic has returned to the European market with the Eluga. Naturally, the Eluga has TV-centric features and you will be able to use the phone as a remote control for some models. The Eluga phone is also water proof to one metre and has a 960x540 pixel 4.3 inch OLED screen, along with an 8 megapixel autofocus camera. Worryingly, there is no mention of a flash for the camera and the pre-production units we saw didn't seem to have such a light source.

So there you have it, Panasonic sees the term 'connected' in connected TVs as being much more than just connection to the Internet. That's good news in our eyes.

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Panasonic determined to make cameras and TV better partners

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