Panasonic is ending development of GSM mobile phones and will concentrate instead on 3G Linux-based phones, which are already popular in Asia.
Panasonic is the first major mobile phone manufacturer to pull out of the GSM market, and the move will result in a number of site closures around the world.
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The company said that concentrating on 3G, and on the Linux OS in particular, will bring down Panasonic’s overall research and development and production costs, and will help it focus on a market predicted by analysts to take off worldwide.
As a result of the decision the company will close a US R&D centre which has been working on non-Linux platforms, and its UK mobile research facility will re-focus its direction on 3G.
A Philippines GSM handset factory will also close, as will a factory in the Czech Republic. One in China will shift production exclusively to 3G.