Luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu has gone into liquidation after its famously expensive handsets failed to capture the imagination of the rich and famous. The closure of the UK-based firm, which made alligator skin, gold and diamond-encrusted phones priced from £11,100, will result in the loss of 200 jobs. Vertu was founded by Finnish mobile giant Nokia in 1998 and launched its first luxury mobile phone in 2002, before it was sold in 2012 to private equity group EQT VI.
Luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu has gone into liquidation after its famously expensive handsets failed to capture the imagination of the rich and famous. The closure of the UK-based firm, which made alligator skin, gold and diamond-encrusted phones priced from £11,100, will result in the loss of 200 jobs. Vertu was founded by Finnish mobile giant Nokia in 1998 and launched its first luxury mobile phone in 2002, before it was sold in 2012 to private equity group EQT VI. SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE: Display of Vertu's world's most expensive mobile phones at a showroom in Singapore 13 August 2004. Despite their hefty price and relatively limited functions, sleek handcrafted phones manufactured by Vertu, an independent unit of wireless communications giant Nokia, are becoming sought-after status symbols in Asia..AFP PHOTO/JIMIN LAI (Photo credit should read JIMIN LAI/AFP/Getty Images) Vertu is a good example of how money can’t buy you taste (Photo: Getty) The phones, which featured sapphire crystal screens and ruby bearings, were hand-assembled in its factories in Hampshire, and attracted celebrity fans including actress Gwyneth Paltrow (Vertu’s first customer), Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, reportedly. The company was sold again for £50m to Turkish businessman Hakan Uzan in March, who promised to help Vertu “realise its full potential”.
Uzan slashed the price of the firm’s non-customised models to between £4,000 and £7,000, but reports continued to circulate over its poor finances. Its manufacturing arm went into administration last month. VERTU’S MOST RIDICULOUS PHONE Vertu’s most expensive handset was the Signature Clous de Paris Red Gold, which featured 18 carat red gold, black sapphire keys and a £39,100 price tag. Uzan will retain the brand, design licences and technology, and intends to rebuild the company at a later date, a person close to the matter told the Financial Times. While aimed firmly at a luxury market, Vertu’s creations failed to attract much praise in technology circles. They originally ran Nokia’s Symbian operating system before switching to Google’s Android in 2013, and failed to support Bluetooth or GPS when they first launched.
The tastes of the rich and famous gradually shifted away from blingy mobiles and BlackBerries to iPhones in the late 2000s, which more often than not are the celebrity’s handset of choice. iPhones have become aspirational status symbols for people on all incomes, but those with flashier tastes could employ the services of businesses built around blinging up existing iPhones with diamonds, or creating 24 carat gold cases, rather than splash out on an expensive handset which will still require replacing every few years. - By Rhiannon Williams - inews.co.uk
Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/technology/luxury-phone-maker-vertu-bit-the-dust-because-the-rich-own-iphones/
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