Once upon a time Nokia(s nok) had an England-based subsidiary called Vertu, which made absurdly expensive Symbian phones for people with more money than tech savvy. But then Nokia fell on hard times, and last year it offloaded the brand to a private equity group for a reported $250 million.
Now Vertu is back, and this time it’s making absurdly expensive Android phones for people with more money than… well, it’s a step up from Symbian, for sure, but for some reason we’re still looking at a handset bearing the already-outdated Ice Cream Sandwich variant of Android. The Vertu Ti, priced at €7,900 ($10,500), doesn’t do 4G either.
And if you’re coughing in amazement at that price tag, that’s just the boring old titanium-frame-with-leather entry-level version. If you’re willing to pay more, you can get other materials, all the way up to the “red gold mixed metals” version – a mere $22,100.
The 180g Vertu Ti has a 3.7-inch, sapphire-surfaced screen. I can’t say how that matches up to Gorilla Glass(s glw), but it’s supposed to be near-impervious to scratches. It runs on a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor and comes with 64GB of built-in storage and an 8-megapixel camera.
These are certainly alright specs for this day and age, though nothing to set the world alight. Of course, the “added value” with a Vertu phone is its concierge service: while mere mortals will have to muck around with apps and mobile websites in order to book event tickets and restaurant tables, Vertu owners can get a human to do that for them by pressing the “ruby” key on the back.
Needless to say, it’s a pretty exclusive device. Even if you find ten grand down the back of your couch, you’ll need to visit one of Vertu’s 500 outlets around the world to buy the entry-level Ti. Alternatively, you could buy the top-end iPhone(s aapl) 5, Nexus(s goog) 4 and Nokia Lumia 920, six times over.