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Panasonic P-03C Lumix phone in hands-on photos

We got our hands on a Panasonic P-03C, otherwise known as the Lumix Phone, which promises to bring the Japanese company's camera tech to a mobile handset.

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Richard Trenholm

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Hola amigos -- and konichiwa. Crave is in Barcelona to snag the latest in mobile phone news, but this next story comes all the way from the Land of the Rising Sun. We got our hands on a Panasonic P-03C, otherwise known as the Lumix phone.

Lumix is Panasonic's excellent camera brand, offering such CNET UK favourites as the Lumix TZ10 and Lumix GF2.

We had a play with the P-03C Lumix phone on the NTT DoCoMo stand at annual blower blowout MWC. The DoCoMo booth is always a soothing oasis of bonkers in the middle of the MWC scrum, showcasing the crazy phones the Japanese network offers to delighted Nippon phone fans.

The Sharp SH-04B is a classic example: it's a phone shaped like a chocolate bar. Not as in, it's a candybar phone, but as in, it's got fake plastic chocolate chunks melting down the casing. This year, that was joined by a cookie phone. Not as in, it's got the word 'cookie' in the name, but as in, it's designed to look like an actual biscuit.

Crazy phones: yet another reason Japan is just better than here.

So we'll never see the Lumix phone on these shores. But for what it's worth, the the P-03C is a 13.2-megapixel camera phone. Unlike the 14-megapixel Altek Leo we also had a go with here, it doesn't include a pop-out lens.

The phone weighs 141g, and measures 116 by 52 by 18mm. It's slimmer and longer than an average compact camera, but being a slider phone it's thicker than the phones we're used to. Lumix cameras are synonymous with rock-solid build quality, so it's disappointing to note that the sliding mechanism on the models we tried felt really loose.

The phone supports 3G and GSM. It packs a 3.3-inch screen offering 480x854-dot resolution and 262,144 colours. Other features include GPS, an NFC mobile wallet to pay for things with a wave of the phone, and a TV tuner. Any one of those things could be a unique selling point for a phone here in Europe, but in Japan they're near-standard.

Would you like a Lumix phone? Tell us in the comments. We'll never see this particular phone, but Panasonic is planning a return to the phone market using Google's Android operating system.

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The top of the Lumix phone.
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The insanely complicated controls. The Japanese love having lots of buttons -- they must like a challenge.
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The slider revealed.
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The Lumix phone is only available in Japan, but could influence Panasonic's forthcoming Android mobiles.

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