Today, Panasonic unveiled two new smartphones from its Eluga lineup – the Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X, both of which are going to be sold in the Indian market. Panasonic is probably better known for its cameras than its smartphone products, but even so the company still believes it has something to say when it comes handsets.
The two smartphones are worth discussing because they are the first to come equipped with the company's new Arbo virtual assistant – a word derived from Esperanto which means a framework that supports climbing plants. In a world where virtual assistants are everywhere, Panasonic has come up with its own solution which uses machine learning to learn the user's habits based on time and location and make appropriate suggestions. Arbo won't be available upon launch, as the Eluga Ray Max and Eluga Ray X will be getting it one or two weeks afterward. Panasonic explains that Arbo is currently a nascent platform and more features like allowing the virtual companion to make changes to third-party apps (once permission is given) will be added in the near future.
As for specs, the Panasonic Eluga Ray Max arrives with a 5.2-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The phone relies on an unnamed octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon clocked at 1.4 GHz working hand in hand with 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage (micro SD card slot available for expansion up to 128GB). The Eluga Ray Max rocks a 16-megapixel main camera with dual-LED flash and an 8-megapixel selfie camera with wide-angle and front flash. The phone relies on a 3,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and it runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. The Eluga Ray Max also brings dual-SIM functionality, 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth, GPS/A-GPS and a microUSB.
The Panasonic Eluga Ray X is a lower-specced smartphone. It features a 5.5-inch display with 1280 x 720 resolution and a mystery 1.3 GHz quad-core SoC plus 3GB of RAM and 32GB of native storage (expandable via microSD card slot up to 64GB). Panasonic put a 13-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash on the back and 5-megapixel secondary shooter up front. It should be mentioned that the device relies on a larger 4,000 mAh battery to keep the lights on. It also runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and has dual-SIM, 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/A-GPS and a microUSB port. It's interesting why Panasonic chose to put its virtual assistant on a mid-range and budget smartphone and not a premium one, but we can expect the company's future products to get the Arbo treatment too. Anyway, the Panasonic Eluga Ray Max with 32GB of storage will become available for approximately Rs. 11,449 ($177 USD), while the 64GB option will start selling for Rs. 12,499 ($192 USD). Customers will be able to grab it in Gold, Metallic and Rose Gold from Flipkart. As for the Panasonic Eluga Ray X, the phone will come bearing a Rs. 8,999 ($138 USD) price tag at Flipkart. Expect them in April.