Android or Windows? Luxury smartphone makers Vertu opt for Android as the operating system for their new luxury handset, the Vertu Ti.
Chief Executive of the company, Perry Oosting said of the decision: "You need to be part of an ecosystem Your device will have to integrate with other devices. I think the Windows phone will have success but it is still a relatively small market share. At the moment it doesn't have the global reach of Android - which is about 60% of the market."
The glistening, glittering, gleaming handset will set you back a whopping £6,944 – and that is just entry level; you can accessorise, adding your own bits n’ bobs and you’ll be out of pocket to the tune of £14,170. Oh dear God. For that price you could buy a top of the range iPhone 5, Nexus 4 and a Nokia Lumia 920... six times over.
So what makes this mobile (it’s a mobile phone, people!) worth so much!? Brace yourself.
It is encased in a titanium chassis which apparently is five times tougher than other smartphone casings - having been built with ‘durability in mind’. Good job, too – imagine forking out seven grand and then dropping and braking it. Bad times. Apparently it’s so ruddy strong it survived being run over by a truck. The 3.7” sapphire-screen (ahem) did not shatter during this little knock, either. Just in case we weren't bowled over enough, the firm’s gaffer slipped a reminder to us all into recent interviews that sapphire can only be scratched by diamond. A truck? Meh. Not even a tiny, weeny scrape.
The bits of the body which aren’t bejewelled with sapphire or titanium-clad are wrapped in leather at the moment it’s sounding like something that would be at home in a slightly seedy Soho establishment, but there ya go filthy things for the filthy rich!
Each device is assembled painstakingly by hand. The name and signature of the assembler is then laser inscribed onto the inside lid of the SIM card holder. Each device also has a ‘concierge service’. All the owner has to do is press the ‘Ruby’ key and they’ll be put through to a pleb who will provide them with localised advice and help with dinner reservations, travel arrangements and other things like that which one couldn’t possibly do oneself. Oh and of course the acoustics of the thing are made in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen. Obviously.
Clearly the devices aren’t aimed at the mass market; in fact, there are only 326,000 Vertu smartphone owners worldwide after 10 years in the industry (China is their biggest market, perhaps unsurprisingly). And they are only available in 500 retail outlets worldwide (which include 70 of their own boutiques).
But remember: all that glitters is not gold. Well, in this case it is, actually, technically, literally (you can add gold as an accessory) but metaphorically this phone is definitely not gold: it falls behind most of the mainstream smartphones around in terms of its spec. The phone runs on the now out-dated Ice Cream Sandwich variant of Android – as opposed to the Jelly-Bean 4.2 which phones such as the Nexus 4 run on. Although this is a step up from the now deceased Symbian system they have been operating on until now it's still a bit behind. It is not 4G enabled and also sports a rather spiddly 1.7GHz processor (rather than the superior Quad Core chip which is in common use). It is also a bit heavier than other smartphones at 180g; the Galaxy S weighing in at 118g and the iPhone5 at 112g.
It has an 8MP camera, 1GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory, which is all well and good but not really technology you would expect from a phone worth more than 6.5 grand, is it? Basically you’re paying for a massive and heavy item of rectangular jewellery. The innards really aren’t that impressive.
However, Chief Exec Perry said of criticism surrounding the phone’s capabilities: "Vertu will never be at the bleeding edge of technology It has to be about relevant technology and craftsmanship - it's not a disposable product." Clearly.
Despite being one step behind all the other smartphone makers around, Vertu have also said that their sales have increased year on year for the past decade, which is great for the Hampshire based business. This comes even though experts believe that global trends will lean more and more towards the lower end of the smartphone market: "We forecast that by 2016, 31% of the global overall handset market will be low-end smartphone," Ian Fogg, principal analyst at IHS, told the BBC last month.
I guess if you are reading this and you’re just about to buy your new Vertu Ti handset (firstly, wtf?!) and secondly, you probably won’t be interested in the quick and easy cash that you make by using our Recycling Service. However, you should be interested in our Recycling service because it is good for the environment. If you don’t recycle your old handset a lot of nasty toxins will seep out into mother-earth and no-one wants that, not even you big spenders; so, do the right thing and recycle with us here at OnRecycle! And don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter if you’re happy with the service – you’ll get all the latest news from the world of technology then, too ;)
And remember that after the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box... How meaningful.