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Japanese Firms Seek Europe Phone Market Share
20 Feb 2012 EST - Reuters
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Japanese companies Fujitsu and Panasonic plan to enter the European smartphone market as rivals Apple and Samsung have piled on the pressure in their previously isolated home market.

Panasonic unveiled on Monday its Eluga model, marking its re-entry to the European market, and Fujitsu said it plans to roll out a wider portfolio of products in Europe.

Japanese handset makers have struggled to compete outside their home country, in part owing to a focus on technology for the domestic market, and analysts say they will likely also struggle this time to break into the tightly competed sector.

"The push into the European smartphone market makes sense given the limited room for growth back in Japan. However, the challenge they will face to gain traction is huge," said Dominic Sunnebo, analyst at research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Last year Apple alone took a 10 percent share of the Japanese market, the third-largest smartphone market globally, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Panasonic will sell its Eluga model for slightly over 400 euros, excluding operator subsidies, from April. The model comes with a 4.3 inch touchscreen, uses a Texas Instruments processor and runs Google's Android software.

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