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MWC: Panasonic docomo PRIME series P-01A Review

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panasonic-docomo-prime-series-p-01a-live-hands-on-image-3BARCELONA, Spain – Panasonic showcased ten mobile phones at the Mobile World Congress, along with a Super 3G (LTE) base station and a femtocell base station. The Panasonic P-01A was one of the highlights of the demonstration.

The docomo PRIME series P-01A has already been launched with NTT DoCoMo on November 2008,  and was presented together with nine other 3G phones, namely: the docomo PRIME series P-01A, docomo STYLE series P-02A, docomo STYLE series P-03A, docomo SMART series P-04A, docomo SMART series P-05A, SoftBank 930P, SoftBank 830P, SoftBank 831P, W62P, and P001. Not all of these phones have been launched, few are unscheduled for March 2009.

The phone in question opens in a “two-way style”, similar to that of the Nokia N93. The phone closes as a normal clamshell, and opens in another form, where the display is parallel to the keypad, and is in landscape format. Images¬† ahead in this review describe this better.

The 3.1″ display with Wide-VGA resolution (640×854 pixels) is based on the Viera technology, from Panasonic’s famous plasma TV sets. Other display technologies present on the phone are the “Mobile Peaks Processor”, and the “Mobile Double Contrast AI”, the latter which gives the screen a contrast of 6000:1. For further improvement on TV playback through DoCoMo’s One-Seg package, the P-01A has a “Mobile Double Speed” technology, which increases frame rate from 15fps to 30fps.

In terms of software, the P-01A runs on LiMo open-source operating system, which competes against Google Android, and will compete against the upcoming Symbian Foundation. The pre-installed i-appliTM “Family Message Board” application allows family members and friends to share messages and schedules between their mobile phones and Viera TVs at home. The software wasn’t tested to its full potential owing to time constraints at the event.

The device felt quite big in our hands, thanks to its large screen. When closed, the phone measures 108x50x16.9 mm, and weighs 122g.

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The phone in our possession was in red, or as Panasonic calls it, “Glamorous Red”. The P-01A is also available in “Graphite Black”, “Frosty White”, and “Champagne Pink”.

The front of the phone, below the swivel module, has an interesting pattern, almost as a chess board, but in different colours. On the pattern itself, a green light glows from time to time, perhaps to advise the user of any message or missed calls.

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Above the pattern there is a small display, which showed the time, and status icons. The colour of the display matches the red, and as far as we can see, Panasonic could have excelled in the design criteria, if it wasn’t for the phone’s size.

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On the right side of the phone there is a key labelled in Japanese (a language not understood by PhoneReport), an AV-out and earphones port, and a lanyard loop. Unfortunately there is no 3.5mm jack.

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The left side of the phone had a volume rocker, and a microSD memory card slot. All these components, as well as those listed on the right side, are in the red, the predominant colour in this edition of the phone.

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The top and bottom of the phone are left untouched.

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The back side of the phone has some sort of port in the bottom, possibly for charging through a docking station; and the 5.1 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. The speakers are also located on this section.

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Above the main display one can find the ambience light sensor, the ear speaker, and the secondary camera, to be used in video calls.

The keys visible are the numeric ones, the d-pad, and four shortcut keys, although the d-pad keys can also be used as shortcut keys.

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The images below demonstrate the two-way function of the phone. Note how the keys change from vertical labelling (conventional), to horizontal labelling.

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No further details were noticeable from the P-01A, and as we do not understand Japanese language, and are not acquainted with Panasonic or other Japanese phones, we cannot comment on this one, although the advancement of this Asian market amazes us, and brings the question of why can’t other countries provide services such as mobile TV, which would automatically enhance devices and bring phones with displays of higher resolution, among other features.

Video courtesy of eprice

Video courtesy of eprice

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By , Editor-in-Chief, Johannesburg office

Published on Mar 10th, 2009 GMT +2

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