14th Jan 2013
We have been hearing about how Panasonic has not been doing well. As this Reuters report says, the company is considering headcount savings, and even planning to sell off parts of its business. This was revealed to press by the company’s President, Kazuhiro Tsuga at CES, last week. The troubles are so significant that Mr Tsuga said that company has been ‘losing’ in the consumer electronics space.
Here’s a small list of things that Panasonic actually got right, and why it may be good for consumers if the company finds a way out of its financial mess:
Adopted Micro Four-Thirds Standard
In mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras, the brand is a worthy competitor to the hegemony of the Canons and Nikons. Let’s simplify this for the non-photography enthusiasts: Mainstream professional and enthusiast photography is dominated primarily by two companies, Canon and Nikon. In 2008, Panasonic and Olympus created a new standard for SLR-like (not SLR, mind you) cameras that reduce the size of such cameras. Panasonic was the first to launch a camera based on this standard, the Lumix DMC-G1, and the company has kept at it. Along with Olympus, Panasonic has the potential to offer a true third choice for photography enthusiasts. On the regular point and shoot front too, some of the models in Panasonic lineup have struck the balance between image quality, features, price and bulk.
Toughbooks, And Now Toughpads
If there was one commercially available laptop that you could take outdoors and use it in environments where other manufacturers suggest not to use their products, is a Toughbook. At the just concluded CES, Panasonic launched a ‘tough’ version of a tablet, called Toughpad. Not all of us need such a tough device, but the idea is of it is what many like. Just the way you would fancy an SUV…
In a market where the ‘purist’ plasmas were eaten away by lighter, less expensive LCDs, Panasonic produced some brilliant plasma TVs and earned the respect of television aficionados. Last year, Panasonic and Sony partnered on OLED TVs, the next big technology change for TVs.
Diversified Without Dilution
From home entertainment to kitchen appliances, Panasonic has presence in many product categories. While nearly every company has dabbled in something other than its core strengths, what stands out here is the apparent consistency in attention to detail in product design and quality. Panasonic may have its share of complaints from customers, but often, things like shoddy build quality or longevity are not one of them.
Mr Tsuga was quoted saying the company would shift its focus from consumer electronics to other businesses such as in-car and in-flight entertainment. We hope this does not dilute the consumer products that the company has been making.