Japan Broadcasters refuse to run ads for new Panasonic TVs

Japan’s broadcasters have been refusing to advertise Panasonic Corp.’s new TV sets because the new product line, Panasonic’s Smart Viera series, displays websites and online video clips at the same time as TV programs.

The TV networks are demanding Panasonic change the way the online information is shown on the TV.

Do you think Panasonic will listen?

People want more online content in their living rooms and companies are doing all they can to control the space. Microsoft has been trying to do it for over a decade with their media center and now the newest version of x-box, which tries to be an all-in-one entertainment behemoth.

Panasonic looking at sales to U.S. cops and in-flight movies for survival

Panasonic Corp’s answer to the brutal onslaught on its TV sales may be in a product the Japanese firm launched 17 years ago and which is a must-have for U.S. police cars.

Two thirds of the 420,000 patrol cars in the United States are equipped with the company’s rugged Toughbook computers, and Panasonic chief Kazuhiro Tsuga sees the niche product as a model for how the sprawling conglomerate can make money beyond a gadget mass market increasingly dominated by Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc.

“What we need are businesses that earn, and they don’t necessarily have to have big sales,” Tsuga told reporters after his appointment as company president was approved in June.

Read the rest of the story: Riches in niches: U.S. cops, in-flight movies may be model for Panasonic survival.

Panasonic Faces $9.6 Billion Loss

Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday it is projecting a full year loss amid falling demand for its Viera TVs and additional restructuring costs.

The net loss will probably be ¥765 billion in the business year ending March 31, the company said, scrapping its May projection of ¥50 billion in net income.

Panasonic, Sharp Corp. and Sony Corp., Japan’s three biggest TV makers, are cutting jobs and closing production lines to recover from record losses amid slumping demand and rising competition from South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc.

Panasonic eliminated 38,387 positions in the year through June 30 and promoted Kazuhiro Tsuga to president after he led restructuring of the firm’s TV business.

Read the rest of the story: In U-turn, Panasonic faces ¥765 billion loss.

Panasonic unsure on restart of protest-damaged plant in China

Panasonic Corp said it did not know when it will be able to resume production at its protest-damaged factory in the Chinese port city of Qingdao, and it could not yet give an estimate on how the plant closure will affect its earnings.

Anti-Japan protesters had ripped out and bashed equipment and supplies at the Qingdao plant, which makes electronic parts such as switches, the struggling maker of Viera TVs said in a statement on Friday.

A flare-up in a diplomatic row over a group of East China Sea islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, triggered mass protests in China and heightened maritime tensions as Chinese boats approached waters claimed by Japan.

Read the rest of the story: Panasonic unsure when can restart protest-damaged Qingdao plant.

Sony and Panasonic to team-up on next generation TV’s

Japan’s cash-bleeding electronics giants Sony and Panasonic are looking to join forces to produce next generation televisions in a bid to claw back market from South Korean rivals, a report said Tuesday.

The firms want to speed up the development of large-screen organic electroluminescence (OEL) televisions, which consume less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat panels, the Nikkei daily said.

OEL is widely expected to be the dominant technology in the next generation of televisions.

Read the rest of the story: Sony, Panasonic eye next generation TV tie-up.

What is Panasonic Doing for the Future of Human-kind? – Fuji-san and solar-charged batteries

Panasonic will broadcast live a solar eclipse next month over Japan from the top of Mount Fuji, using batteries that are charged at the base using solar power and then carried up to the peak.S

The company will use the event to create publicity for its solar panels and rechargeable portable power units. Panasonic said all video cameras, PCs, and other equipment used for the broadcast will be powered by solar energy. The team will consist of mountain guides and engineers, as well as some participants chosen from the general public.

A rare solar eclipse, in which the moon passes between the earth and the sun, is to take place over Japan on the morning of May 21. The event will be visible from a large swath of the country, including Tokyo, and later from parts of the U.S., including California, Nevada and Arizona.

Panasonic has created a web site to promote the project, as well as the YouTube video below.

Read the rest of the story: Panasonic Team to Lug Solar-charged Batteries up Mt. Fuji, Live-stream Eclipse.

Panasonic robot, Evolta, to attempt Hawaii triathlon

After scaling the cliff walls of the Grand Canyon and driving the Le Mans racetrack for 24 hours, a tiny Japanese robot is set for a new challenge — Hawaii’s gruelling Ironman Triathlon course.

Fitted with three different bodies and three recharge­able batteries, the hand-sized “Evolta” from electronics firm Panasonic will swim, bicycle and run its way through one of the world’s toughest triathlon routes, the company said.

“This is very tough even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth a challenge,” said Tomo­taka Takahashi, who created the green and white toy-like robot.

via Japan robot to attempt Hawaii triathlon.

Japans Panasonic eyes 17,000 job cuts

Japans electronics giant Panasonic has announced it aims to cut its global workforce to 350,000 in two years, a reduction of about 17,000 positions, in a bid to streamline its operations.

It also planned to spend 1.9 billion US dollars over the next two years on restructuring in a drive to increase its global competitiveness.

The announcement came after Panasonic Electric Works and Sanyo Electric this month became wholly owned units of Osaka-based Panasonic, whose workforce numbered 366,937 at the end of March this year.

The planned job cuts will mean roughly a 10 percent reduction from March 2010 when Panasonic had 384,586 employees.Company president Fumio Ohtsubo said the firm must integrate duplicated operations to boost the groups competitiveness.

Read the rest of the story: Japans Panasonic eyes 17,000 job cuts.

Panasonic to Enter the Video Game Industry with Portable Video-Game Player – code-name ‘Jungle’

Panasonic Corp. began testing of a handheld video-game player in the U.S., as the Japanese electronics maker aims to return to the market after more than a decade to challenge Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co.

The company’s U.S.-based unit invited users in the country to test the player, code-named “Jungle,” Panasonic Cloud Entertainment Company said in an e-mail to registered customers today. Panasonic’s Tokyo-based spokesman Akira Kadota confirmed the e-mail, without providing details about when the device will be unveiled and its price.

The Osaka, Japan-based company, which together with Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. and Atari SA, ceded the console market to Sony and Nintendo, is looking to return to the video game industry estimated to reach $20 billion in sales in the U.S. this year. Besides its traditional rivals, Panasonic also faces competition from games played using smartphones and tablet computers, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad.

“We know other companies out there have traditional hand- held gaming covered,” Panasonic said in the e-mail. “We’re doing something very different.”

Read the rest of the story: Panasonic Begins Testing of Portable Video-Game Player `Jungle’ in U.S..

Panasonic to get into the smartphone race

Panasonic Corp said on Tuesday it will begin sales of its own smartphones in Japan early next year and overseas in 2012, in a late but ambitious attempt to grab share of the booming market.

Based on Google Inc’s Android operating system, the new phones will compete against Apple Inc’s iPhone, which dominates the Japanese smartphone market, as well as with Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant admitted it was late joining the smartphone party, but said it hoped to differentiate its handsets by emphasizing network capabilities with other Panasonic products.

"We misjudged the speed at which smartphones would be taken up in the Japanese market," Osamu Waki, head of the company’s mobile communications unit told a news conference. "With the rapid shift to Android, we want to catch up quickly."

Read the rest of the story: Panasonic to begin smartphone sales in Japan in 2011.