Vertu, luxury phone maker, bites the dust

Vertu, the "luxury" cellphone maker whose handsets look like drug cartel handguns and are always comically obsolete, went out of business last month, reports the BBC. It is to auction off its inventory. Bids start at $26,000.

Thuy Ong:

The auctioneer, G J Wisdom & Co, says the phones are a mix of concept models to fully functional ones, so some are not operational. The owner of Vertu failed to rescue the company from bankruptcy after offering to pay creditors just £1.9 million ($2.4 million) of the firm’s £128 million debt. Some handsets were sold for $30,000 in the company’s heyday, and offered 24/7 concierge services as part of the handset’s price. Just a year ago, the phone maker released its “cheapest” trio of handsets at $4,200 a pop — though they ran on two-year-old chips.

Vertu was founded as Nokia's prestige marque, sold off by its parent, and is now remembered as a "UK tech jewel." Golden pocket Deloreans with $200 usb cables and no-where to stash the coke.

If you want an example of the delusional esteem in which some British pundits held the company, read The Financial Times' corporate obituary for it. They think they've just witnessed the death of the Leica of cellphones. Read the rest

Gold Nokia 3310 with Putin's portrait on it

Nokia's resurrected 3310 is the dumbphone du jour, but it has two key flaws. First, the 2G radio bands it uses are insecure and being shut down by many telcos, meaning it might not work in your region. Second, the base model doesn't have a bas-relief portrait of Russian premier Vladimir Putin on it.

Sadly, this feature is a $3,700 upgrade from Caviar, one of those design houses that supposedly has a classy European pedigree but is, in any case, now devoted entirely to making special editions of phones for drug lords. Many are Putin themed, but Trump is the hot new thing.

WHAT’S BETTER THAN A NOKIA 3310? A GOLD NOKIA 3310 WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN’S FACE ON IT [The Outline] Read the rest

Vertu Signature Dragon cellphone

Two days ago, I described Vertu's $20,000 cellphones as "resembling dragon poo." Today, it announced the Signature Dragon Commemorative Edition. [Luxury News via The Verge]

Update: Want to see a Vertu torn to pieces? Read the rest

Behold! Vertu's $200 USB cable

Did you know that Nokia has a "luxury" subsidiary that makes phones for stupid rich people?

As the European cellular industry's supernumerary nipple, Vertu has long specialized in calculator-display brickphones that look like dragon poo rolled in gemstones. It oozes along the dried slugtrail of progress, having just announced its first touchscreen Symbian handset--sure to be an LG Prada-killer! Read the rest