Panasonic says it will start selling Android-based smartphones in Japan next year, overseas in 2012

Panasonic may not be new to cellphones, but it has sat out of the smartphone explosion of recent years -- an oversight that it's now apparently looking to correct. Speaking at a news conference today, the head of Panasonic's mobile division, Osamu Waki, said flatly that the company "misjudged the speed at which smartphones would be taken up in the Japanese market," and that "with the rapid shift to Android, we want to catch up quickly." Exact details on how it plans to catch up are expectedly still a bit light, but Panasonic's phones will indeed be based on Android, and it apparently hopes to differentiate them by emphasizing their networking capabilities with other Panasonic products. As for when the first ones will roll out, Panasonic plans to kick off sales in Japan sometime next year, with overseas markets set to follow in 2012.