Panasonic exited the smartphone market back in 2012, a move that was followed a year later by that of the closure of its plasma TV division.

So it was with quite some excitement and surprise that we heard the company was launching a smartphone based on Windows.

The Toughpad 5 is available both on Android (4.2) and on Windows Embedded 8 Handheld OS Windows, built on Windows Phone 8.

Both work on ARM but WE8 is geared towards the enterprise and business, focusing on so-called line-of-business handheld devices

Talking points

The biggest differences are native support for Active Directory, a 10-year support program plus guaranteed product availability for 15 years and increased input options as well as bundled security capabilities (like in Panasonic's case, a security chip courtesy of Marvell).

The fact that the Toughpad 5 looks like a brick means that it will unlikely to an attractive option for BYOD aficionado (and therefore not likely to be taken down the pub).

The take-home features include a tile-based interface, dual-SIM support, rear and front cameras and voice call capabilities.

The obvious question here is whether Microsoft will allow its OEMs to launch smartphones with Windows Embedded 8 Handheld OS, based on more traditional designs.

Focusing on business

Stephen Yeo, Marketing Director for Panasonic System Communications EMEA, told TechRadar Pro that the company will be focusing on the business market, working on products that can "speak between themselves" thanks to open standards.

He also underlined the benefits of tapping the "collective intelligence of interconnected devices" which includes collecting, analysing and distributing the data as part of the current shift to M2M and IoT.