Hand made in England – along with Bentleys and Aston Martins – the British luxury mobile phone maker Vertu has just released their latest smartphone called the Vertu Ti with an astounding $19,900 price tag.
I’ve been following what Vertu has been up to over the past half a decade or so and it seems as though they do one thing and one thing only: make cell phones for gazillionaires who enjoy status symbols. I first spotted a Vertu phone at a Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills in 2006 with a price tag that would make anyone’s mouth drop – around $5,000. One of the company’s most expensive models, the Signature Cobra, sold for a whopping $310,000 dollars.
In the mid- 2000s – at the height of the bling phenomenon and when literally anyone could go to the bank and get a loan to buy a house – Vertu was right on the money (literally) with their fancy phones, which included all sorts of bells and whistles, like diamonds and a concierge service. Mind you, this was a time before the Internet was actually practical on your phone and before the iPhone set the benchmark for the cellphone status symbol. Now a concierge service seems ridiculous with the advent of Siri and whole host of other apps that do almost everything for you except make your bed and put a mint on your pillow.
Vertu’s new Ti has the internet and runs on Google’s android system, but still has a concierge service and will set you back $10,000 to nearly $20,000. As beautiful as they look, it’s not 2006 and blinged out phones just aren’t that cool anymore. iPhones are cool, because they are brilliantly designed and accessible; and other smart phone makers are catching up.
Vertu, which was founded by Nokia in 1998 and sold 90% of it’s stake in 2012, claims their new smartphone is 4 times tougher than the rest with a titanium shell and Corning’s Gorilla Glass, and can do almost everything a $100 smartphone can do, but comes in a shockingly expensive package – I guess that’s how the luxury market operates.
Each phone is hand made by a single craftsman and comes in three different styles, like black leather ($9,600), black alligator ($12,800), titanium pure black ($11,500 ) and red gold details ($19,900). I wonder what Robin Leach would say? Visit Vertu to find a boutique near you.