Vertu = luxury phones, at least on the outside, for now.
The phones are handmade, one at a time, by master craftsmen in England for the luxury division of Finnish phone maker, Nokia.
Made from stainless steel with a sapphire crystal screen making them virtually unscratchable (except by diamonds) and keys that pivot on ruby bearings, the Vertu watches are undeniably eloquent and unique.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek (3-9 October 2011) pegs the average cost at for a Vertu at $6,800 with their Signature line costing more than twice than amount!
Started in 1998, they have sold more than 300,000 phones in the last decade, and have seen “high double-digit sales growth.”
The main problem with the phones according to IDC researcher is that they are “remaining decidedly low-tech”–running on “Symbian, the old Nokia smartphone operating system being phased out in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7″–another market non-starter!
Currently, they are seen as more jewelry than smartphone, and so “a lot of Vertu owners have another device for everyday use.”
However, another area where the Vertu phone has the special something is in terms of service–concierge service that is. Free for the first year and then costing about $3,0000 a year thereafter, you get a 24-hour hotline in nine languages for handling everything from restaurant reservations to travel planning and sending exotic gifts, such as “a box of live butterflies”–well not something I would do everyday, but I may just not be such a great gift giver 🙂
Also, many models come with dual-SIM cards so you can have one phone for example for both business and private use with different phone numbers, networks, billing plans, etc.
Certainly this phone makes a big statement in terms of handsome looks and a very special service offering, but to really be luxury inside and out in the mobile computing marketplace, it’s got to do a deal with Apple and/or Android, period.
Vertu customers paying big bucks for a great phone, deserve not only the best looks, but the best smartphone technology.
Another big challenge is that with people upgrading their smartphones every 18-24 months, how do you maintain the Vertu’s value over time or is this a luxury purchase to be made on the order of Moore’s Law?