So the Japanese press reports today. Wait.. were they still making one, anyways?
In Japanese domestic market, Panasonic kept No. 2 (after Sharp) till 2009, but as the market shifts to smartphone, now it is ranked 4th, after Fujitsu, Apple and Sharp. They just announced that they will shrink their mobile handset business drastically, discontinue Eluga product line they just introduced in Europe, already slashed several hundred headcounts in the domestic product facility. But "shrinking" even further from the current small operation equals death, practically speaking.
In a separate report, as all the carriers shift their line up to smartphone in the past few years, Japanese vendors finally turned their heavy body around and designed "state-of-the-art" smartphone, with their sophisticated technology and design ability, but it turns out that Qualcomm could not supply enough number of Snapdragon chips due to the global shortage (=dramatic sales increase). Because Japanese market and vendors are so small that they get a low priority in rationing.
And at this moment, there is really no way out of this mess. No international vendors want to buy into any of these smaller players, and merging with other weak domestic player will not help in global market at all. Sharp is on the verge of bankruptcy due to their liquid crystal problem, and Fujitsu handsets have all kinds of problems.
Even the Mighty Nokia is slipping down. Too bad, Japanese once-glorious mobile vendors are all going down together. I believe they should have consolidated themselves in early 2000's, when they still had some life left. But it is WAY too late.