After suffering US$15 billion in losses over the last two financial years, Panasonic has announced that it will pull out of the consumer smartphone market. This comes just a year after attempting to expand its smartphone business to Europe in March 2012.
Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga told Reuters that "it's not acceptable for the company to be bleeding red ink like this, so we have to think about ways to develop assets that we do have in a more effective direction."
Tsuga did however mention that Panasonic will continue to sell consumer handsets in emerging markets under the Panasonic brand but they will be made by other manufacturers.
Interestingly, Reuters also reports that, while the company is stepping back from the consumer smartphone market, it might be developing an enterprise smartphone similar to its popular "Toughbook" notebook PC series. When we spoke to Panasonic Director of IT Products, Hide Harada, back in July he also mentioned the possibility of building a rugged smartphone.