New hand-assembled device aims to expand the luxury smartphone manufacturer’s market share
Luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu is looking to expand its market share with the Vertu Constellation, a leather-bound handset that boasts a comparatively modest price tag of €4,900 (£4,100).
Established by Nokia in 1998, Vertu has produced some of the most expensive phones in the world as it prides itself on using precious metals, leathers and gemstones in its products. Its phones can only be purchased from 500 retailers around the world, including 70 of its own boutiques, and there are believed be more than 300,000 Vertu owners around the world.
Nokia sold Vertu to Swedish private equity firm last year in a transaction believed to be around £162.5 million and the company hopes its new handset will appeal to more frugal oligarchs and millionaires.
The Constellation boasts a 4.3-inch high definition display, protected by a 5.1-inch piece of sapphire crystal, which can resist scratches from any object other than diamonds, although given Vertu’s target audience, this could still prove a hazard.
The screen is housed in an engineered grade 5 titanium casing that is 2.5 times stronger than steel, but just half the weight. This is swathed in high-quality calf leather selected from the finest hides available in the Alps and is available in three suitably titled colours – cappuccino, black, orange, mocha and raspberry.
The Constellation’s specifications suggest it isn’t all style and no substance. The smartphone runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.7GHz processor. It has 32GB of storage, a 13 megapixel rear camera and Skype compliant 1.2 megapixel front camera, and includes support for Near Field Communication (NFC).
There are other advantages of being part of the Vertu family. Access to exclusive events and complimentary access to some private members clubs is also included, as is global Wi-Fi access with iPass, personal and corporate security with Protector Service Group and anti-virus by Kaspersky. Additionally, there is also a portfolio of ringtones especially composed for Vertu and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.
Each handset is hand assembled at the company’s facility in Hampshire and the Constellation is due to be released this October. It is the second smartphone to be announced by Vertu this year, with the more expensive Vertu Ti announced in February.
Vertu CEO Massimiliano Pogliani says the Constellation is the product of a 12-month transitional period at the company since it left Nokia’s ownership, during which it has had to balance the artisan world of luxury with the fast paced world of mobile technology.
“This is a vibrant time for Vertu,” he declares. “This is our second major product launch of 2013 and it helps define a clear segmentation strategy which identifies distinct product lines in the Vertu portfolio. This will broaden Vertu’s appeal, attracting new customers to the brand as well as increasing the choice for our existing global customer base.”
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