The Vertu Ti handset – first Android-powered device

Vertu TiIf you thought the new iPhone was expensive…then think again. Handmade, gem-encrusted and leather-clad – Vertu makes some of the most exclusive phones available on the market.

And now the British company, formerly solely owned by Nokia, has launched its very first Android-powered device, the Vertu Ti.

Vertu had previously used Symbian. But after Nokia itself abandoned that system for its Windows phone, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Symbian. Now Vertu has unveiled its first Android phone, along with a new Vertu Ti pic - Copyslogan to go with it: “Handmade in England. Powered by Android.”

But one thing hasn’t changed, no matter which system Vertu is running on, and that’s the cost.

Using the finest exotic and precious materials, and coming with a dedicated button to speak to a private concierge service, Vertu’s new offering was never going to come cheap.

The Vertu Ti handset costs upwards of a far from pocket friendly $11,000. So, what do you get for the same sort of price you would pay for a car? Well you get a 3.7-inch screen which Vertu describes as “virtually scratchproof sapphire crystal”. Apparently, the only thing which can scratch the screen is a diamond.

It has grade-five titanium casing which is strong yet lightweight, a powerful dual-core 1.7 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

It also comes with an eight-megapixel rear camera which has 1080p video capture, along with a 1.3 megapixel front-facing lens. There is 64GB of internal memory and Bang & Olufsen tuned sound.Vertu Ti image

Established by Finnish mobile-phone manufacturer Nokia as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1998, Vertu was sold to private equity group EQT VI in October 2012. The price of the acquisition hasn’t been officially revealed but is rumoured to be in the ballpark of $200m. Nokia retains a 10 per cent share.

The switch in operating system makes the Vertu Ti the firm’s most important product in years.

Vertu’s president and chief executive Perry Oosting described the Vertu Ti as “our most significant product for a decade”.

He added: “The Android OS delivers a proven and intuitive environment for users while the design and craftsmanship of the handset remains uniquely Vertu.”

Explaining the decision to adopt Android rather than follow Nokia’s lead and decide to go for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, Oosting said: “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 per cent of the market.”

Vertu’s designs are made by hand at its factory in Church Cookham, Hampshire, with each device signed by the person who makes it.

The firm’s global chief marketing and communications officer Massimiliano Pogliani, said: “Vertu Ti is the most rounded product that we have ever designed.”

Vertu will be offering the Ti in either Titanium and black leather as well as Alligator and gold mixed metals, at prices ranging from almost $11,000 up to $22,100.

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