Do money and taste really go together? The newest smartphone from luxury brand Vertu suggests otherwise. The Wall Street Journal brings us word that Vertu’s recently launched Signature Touch flagship smartphone features “a digital camera by Hasselblad, global Wi-Fi from iPass, Dolby Digital Plus virtual surround sound and a personalized concierge service.” Oh, and it will also set you back $14,100. Yes, you read that correctly. More →
Last summer, Nokia (NOK) was reported to have sold its luxury phone division to private equity group EQT for estimated $250 million — less than the annual sales that the unit generated. The new owners of the Vertu have wasted no time switching from Symbian to Android. A new Vertu Android line called Ti is now available for roughly $10,000 per phone. That does not buy you much actual performance. The front facing camera is just 1.3 megapixel quality. 64 GB of internal memory also seems just a tad light considering the price tag. More →
Nokia is working with Goldman Sachs to arrange the sale of its luxury phone subsidiary Vertu. It remains unclear exactly how much Vertu is worth, Reuters said Thursday, but the company typically earns Nokia an estimated $268-$402 million in annual revenue. Vertu is best known for its expensive handsets that feature luxuries such as sapphire crystal keys, gold accents and prices that reach several thousands of dollars and beyond. Private equity groups are already interested in the brand Reuters said, citing a Financial Times report that claimed luxury brands will likely also have interest in purchasing Vertu. Vertu has more than 90 retail locations around the globe. More →
Luxury phone maker Mobiado today announced a new addition to its portfolio of exotic cell phones. The Mobiado 105 Damascus, hand-forged using a hot-forging technique that dates back to 1700 AD, certainly does its predecessors proud. The result of the forging technique used to build Mobiado’s new handset is called Damascus steel and it was used to build swords renowned for their strength and sharpness. The 105 Damascus won’t cut you, though it will definitely carve its way deep into your bank account.
Mobiado’s latest creation features GSM and WCDMA radios, a 2-inch 16 million color display, Nokia’s S40 feature phone operating system, a 2-megapixel camera with video capture support, Bluetooth, a microUSB port and over 1GB of internal storage. Since the 105 Damascus is handmade, like all Mobiado phones, the attention to detail is remarkable. And like snowflakes — very, very expensive hand-forged steel snowflakes — no two phones are alike.
The Mobiado 105 Damascus is available immediately and is priced at $4,180. Hit the break for the full press release along with a few additional images, including two awesome shots of the forging process. More →
Remember that four to seven thousand dollar Vertu Constellation Quest handset
BG was drooling over we told you about over the weekend? Well, it looks like the company’s PR firm has posted a short YouTube video detailing just what makes the luxurious handset worth a king’s ransom. Aside from the trimmings we told you about last time — sapphire keys, gold accents, etc. — each device is hand-made and hand-polished to provide the level of luxury Vertu customers have come to expect. The device runs the Symbian operating system, and, as the company’s president explains, is for people who want to express their lifestyle and success with the mobile device. Hit the jump to see just what a multi-thousand dollar Symbian handset looks like. More →
We’ve seen the new Constellation Quest handset in full form, and to be honest, it looks gorgeous. Think of it as the highest form E73 you could imagine — sapphire crystal keys, gold accents — but very angular, almost futuristic looking. Beveled keys, a distinctive ear speaker, and a small size are other things that Vertu’s smartphone features. Unlike other Vertu’s, we’ve heard there will be a decently-sized marketing campaign, possibly even with a celebrity endorsement. As for price? Well, that hasn’t been communicated to us yet, but we’d imagine the $4,000-$7,000 range for the basic model line. Let’s be honest, in these times of economic prosperity… who doesn’t need a multi-thousand dollar phone. Honestly. More →
In a recent SEC filing, Liquidmetal Technologies — a company that develops and commercializes amorphous metals — signed an agreement with Apple, Inc. that granted the iDevice maker licensing to all of Liquidmetal’s intellectual property. The filing reads:
On August 5, 2010, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Liquidmetal”), entered into a Master Transaction Agreement with Apple Inc., a California corporation (“Apple”), pursuant to which (i) Liquidmetal contributed substantially all of its intellectual property assets to a newly organized special-purpose, wholly-owned subsidiary (the “IP Company”), (ii) the IP Company granted to Apple a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products in exchange for a license fee, and (iii) the IP Company granted back to Liquidmetal a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in all other fields of use (together with all ancillary agreements, the “Master Transaction Agreement”).
Amorphous metals could be desirable to mobile electronics makers for their overall durability and flexibility in manufacturing. Plus, who could forget that high-end luxury cell phone manufacturer Vertu used Liquidmetal Alloy in their Ascent series (and even demonstrated them being run over by a Porsche to showcase their durability). More →
You know we are big fans of Vertu handsets around these parts, and Mr. Frank Nuovo certainly isn’t sitting in the UK counting iPhone sales while doing nothing. Vertu has, in Vertu tradition, silently announced an updated model in their lineup and it is the new Vertu Ascent for 2010. Picking up on almost all of the previous phone’s shortcomings (save for the S40-based OS, of course), the new Ascent features quad-band 3G, GPS, preloaded maps for navigation, a 5 megapixel camera, and will come in 8GB and 32GB internal memory configurations in addition to titanium and aircraft-grade aluminum casings. But, it’s a Vertu, and that means there are a plethora of different color combinations. Since the Ascent is racing inspired, don’t hold your breath for diamond-studded versions. Yet there are plenty of bright color finishes to get your juices flowing. You know, if you are into dropping anywhere from $5,000 and up on a cell phone. Couple more shots after the break!
Have you spent hours in front of the mirror perfecting that smooth flick of the wrist that flips opens your clamshell and shows off your expensive Rolex at the same time? Is your entry level Motorola flip phone just not making the cut for your debonair lifestyle? Go ahead and do some donuts in your Lamborghini on the front lawn of your estate as Vertu has answered your prayers. The Nokia subsidiary has just introduced the Vertu Ayxta, a Constellation in the clamshell design. The Ayxta has all the traditional styling of the Vertu including a stainless steel chassis with leather and ceramic accents, scratch-free sapphire glass screen, 3.0 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, microSD expansion (up to 8GB) and 3G connectivity. In addition to the traditional Vertu Concierge service, the Ayxta will include a new feature, City Brief, which alert owners of points of interest, events and etiquette when travelling in one of the 70 supported cities. The Vertu Ayxta is available at locations worldwide for €4,900 ($7,196USD) and €6,500 ($9,545USD).
Aw man, another one? We guess so! Hot off the Vertu Signature S Design we manhandled yesterday, we’ve moved on to bigger and better things. We’re talking official Ferrari-licensed limited edition goods here, people. The Vertu Ascent Ti has actually been around for a little while, we did a hands on over a year ago, but the handset has been done up in Ferrari garb, and we’ve got the most precious Ti out of the Ferrari Ti family — Nero. Standard Vertu disclaimer applies: this isn’t for the faint of heart, bang-for-your-buck shopper or penny pincher. There is something to be said for the incredible craftsmanship of the this device, we’d really say it’s the finest phone in the world. Literally. The Ascent Ti features a 3 megapixel auto-focus camera, quad-band EDGE, 3G, Ferrari leather and a custom metal called Liquidmetal Alloy which is proven to withstand direct hits by a racecar. The Signature, while supposed to impress, didn’t really wow us, but the Nero is putting smiles on babies faces. The feel, call quality, and exclusive Ferrari themes and content make this our favorite Vertu phone by a long shot. At a retail price of $11,500 though, we’re not sure there is a carrier around to subsidize this bad boy… Hit the gallery for the shots and there’s a video of us calling the Concierge and hanging up like little school children after the break.
What, you didn’t see this coming? While the global economy is suffering, Vertu keeps on launching their high-end mobile phones to the world’s richest customers. While they used to be featureless handsets, they’ve now become current, and what used to be expensive, is still… expensive. Let’s look at the brand new Vertu Signature we just got in our office. It’s the stainless steel model, and is made of sapphire crystal, fine leather, and of course, stainless steel. Its got 3G (only the 850MHz and 2100MHz WCDMA band), Wi-Fi, and an OLED display. Definitely some things that keep these devices in play, tech-wise at least. Since Vertu is an off-shoot of Nokia, all up-to-date Vertus run a customized version of the Series 40 OS (we have heard Vertu is working on a PDA, but nothing has materialized yet). Still, at a retail price of $12,500, who’s going to buy this? The old answer used to be someone who can appreciate the finer things in life, just as someone would spend $80,000 on a watch, they’d have no problem dropping $12,000 on a phone. Right? Well, times have changed. This isn’t 2004 when people were rockin’ RAZRs as the new hot thing and had a pretty limited selection of smartphones. If you think about it the world is pretty topsy turvy. There’s BlackBerrys with cameras, Apple makes a cell phone, HTC makes Android devices, and Sony Ericsson makes a Windows Mobile phone. So where is the market for this Signature? We’d say its smaller than ever thanks to the popularity of smartphones that actually work and then obviously the economy. There’s no doubt this is Vertu’s finest model, it sure as heck feels like it. We’re just not so sure people are that interested in this day and age. Unless we’re talking about that Vertu Ascent Ti Ferrari Nero, then well, that’s another story…
When Nokia announced it would be withdrawing from Japan and starting a new MVNO, we weren’t sure what it had in mind. History shows that MVNOs typically aren’t very successful because of the small market for such operators (almost always being dwarfed by mega-carriers), but Nokia has really shocked us with this one. Their new venture is called Vertu Club, which is essentially further isolating an already lonesome market. This particular MVNO is, you guessed it, only going to carry Vertu handsets. The first Vertu store will be the Ginza Flagship store opening in February 2009, but since the MVNO won’t launch until the second quarter, customers will only be able to buy unlocked Vertu models when the store opens. When you think of an MVNO and the reputation it carries, and the fact that Nokia and NTT DoCoMo’s joint venture will operate on a premium membership basis, the Vertu Club almost seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Oh well, the exclusivity premise worked out great for Voce…
We’re not the first site to have a hands on, but we’re the first with a production unit. So there! All jokes aside, I’d like to give you a little back story… about 3 years ago I was talking to one of my higher-up Motorola sources and we started discussing Vertus. I said how much the right people appreciated those phones even though there were completely outdated in terms of technology. They filled a void and were the first ones to get it. I suggested Motorola should create a spin-off brand and concentrate on higher-end phones. Use precious metals, hand assemble them, limit availability, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Our source promptly shot down the idea saying that Motorola wasn’t looking to manufacture high-end devices, just handsets that fall under the RAZR umbrella. Well, I guess all good ideas never die. Motorola’s AURA is in fact the highest-end device they’ve ever built.
As far as the physical hardware goes, Motorola has used the same strategy above that Vertu has used successfully for many years. They’ve made the device almost purely out of metal (even the keyboard is metal), there’s Swiss-manufactured internal components for the flip mechanism (same concept as the complicated movements inside your favorite expensive watch), and they used Sapphire crystal to overlay the beautiful circular display. We’re not joking here, guys — this is hands down one of the most beautiful and impressive screens we have ever seen. As far as build goes, this really is built how a phone should be. And hey, for a retail price of $2,000, it better be. The software is the MOTOMAGX platform which does not allow for 3G, so that’s a pretty decent strike against it. But, we were pleased with the responsiveness of the phone and the familiarity of it. The reason why you see the pre-production devices with the serial number engraved on the metal panel on the flip is that we’re told Motorola originally was limiting the phone to 5,000 handsets. They were going to engrave the buyer’s name and serial number on the panel. Then, Motorola executives probably said two words and changed their minds… “Russian. Market.” Since this is such an important milestone in Motorola’s history, we’re going to put together a full review on the Motorola AURA in the coming days. If you’ve got any questions that you’d like squared away, drop a comment and we’ll do our best to include it. As always, you can find our fine photos in the BGR Gallery below!