"basic mobile phones with classy cases"
.. the very definition of lipstick on a pig ..
Nokia is planning to sell off Vertu, its wholly-owned luxury-phone brand, which sells basic mobile phones with classy cases to the overpaid. The FT reports the news, which Nokia hasn't yet confirmed, but the paper reckons Goldman Sachs has been appointed to oversee the sell-off, which is likely to see the UK-based Vertu put …
... only the very latest Vertus are Symbian based. Previous models used (wait for it...) Series 40.
The only time I saw one of these being used was when some Arab prince's one rang in front of me on Bond St in London. The phone was taken out, glanced at, then tossed backwards to the bag-man who made an excellent leg-slip catch and answered it.
Beautifully made phones, and yes, the styling is "restrained", but only in comparison to the horrors coming out of TAG Heuer or the endless iPhone customisers. To the non-stinky-rich, though, they're way too ostentatious.
I'd love to know why anyone, rich or not would consider this a good thing. Reminds me of those ludicrous buttons that appear on some Logitech keyboards - Shop, Travel etc. where you have a physical button which takes you off through some affiliate links.
I bet the super rich have credit cards providers who are more than happy to toss in a concierge service as part of the deal. And if not them then doubtless there are dozens of similar services. No need for a poxy button on the phone.
Oh wait...I'm poor.I'm as surprised as everyone else Nokia is selling something if it makes money. If recent news is anything to go by, the further we slip into economic chaos the more money the people at the top have got to spend on such frivolities. Sheesh - I sound like I should be in a tent outside a catheddral somewhere.
Why I am paying for a concierge and a gold brick when the hoi polloi are walking around with mini-computers which have apps that book and check on their flight status, theatre, shopping, callendar, email and collate it all automatically without having to call up and go through the rigmerole of...
"Yes, two tickets, Virgin Airlines please... No, Virgin Airlines... V-I-R-G... yes that's right!... hello, hello? $%3@*! Signal dropped! I'll have to call again when we get back to the hotel."
Probably why Nokia's flogging it, they can see the writing on the wall.
If you can't get a good signal to make a voice call, you can't get a good signal to do any of the fancy apps to work.
The billionaire will have a dozen of these phones. One he's picked for the day and is just for bling. He doesn't use it, it's just for show, and there's no way he can be doing with messing with some geeky apps.
He'll have given six others to his assistants/slaves and they can have them on different networks just to be sure of a good signal. They'll make the concierge call, and if they're VIP enough the concierge is personal to them, and all they need to say is "get me a flight leaving in 10 minutes". Concierge knows who it is, where they are, where they want to go based on their known schedule, and they'll sort the flight out. Virgin? Not likely. The private jet will be arranged. If it's not available, they'll buy one and have it fuelled and ready. Failing that, they'll buy Virgin.
... Vertu's "customisation" business also includes mil-spec secure comms stuff. That could well be an even more lucrative side of the business than the bling. Anyone who's been past Vertu's big building just outside Fleet in Hampshire will have noted it's probably one of the most sinister-looking facilities in the area - and that's saying something in an area where just about every other square yard is military owned.
'Writing on the wall' from smartphone apps allowing you to book flights etc yourself?
C'mon people. More like the fact that people who are happy to spend £5k-£10k on a Daewoo-esque outmoded blower have their own minions - who they can physically throw stuff at - who take care of such minutia...
And when those minions are done booking your flights and arranging your meetings, you still need to know what they are and where - hence the usefulness of a smartphone that integrates all that crap (scrapes your email and automatically adjusts your electronic diary), rather than relying on (a) a physical diary, (b) a person who follows you around telling you where to go and what to do or (c) thumbing it in with a 0-9 keypad into a limited and off-line phone calendar.
Imagine the scenario you're off skiing in the alps, your PA/go-to guy or whatever calls to say that your publisher wants to discuss the 7th revision to your autobiography; titled "What I've done since you last read this autobiography". You get to say, just email me/add the details to my calendar and i'll read it/call when I get off this piste.
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