back to article Funnily enough, charging ££££s for trashy bling-phones wasn't a great idea

Vertu, the British smartphone maker known for its obscenely expensive blinged-out handsets, will shut down over an apparent lack of interest in obscenely expensive blinged-out handsets. The bust biz, which did not return a request for comment, was wound up this week in London's High Court. It will liquidate assets and put …

  1. katrinab Silver badge

    "In the meantime, those who want to boost their own self-esteem by paying out the nose for a smartphone can take solace in the reports that Apple's next iPhone will come with a price tag of more than $1,200 (£916)."

    Which is about 1/10th of the price of a dumbphone from Vertu, and you can do a lot more with it.

    1. israel_hands

      Slippery slope...

      You almost sound as if you're defending the price of the new iTat.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Actually the large sapphire screen on their smartphones was brilliant, probably the best bit. I saw a video on line of someone attempting to scratch a vertu screen. Really gave it a good go and something that would have done in gorilla glass (at the time) didn't leave a mark. Was always very impressed with that and hoped it would make it into more mainstream phones. The fact that Apple tried and failed suggests we won't see it anytime soon. The Concierge was also supposed to be quite good, the same firm also do the Coutts concierge i believe.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Since phones became all screen that meant less opportunities for personalization. No room for diamonds buttons and the like. The back cover offers less opportunities. Difficult to build a business on bling phones today.

    3. K Silver badge
      Trollface

      Bet I can do more with my 128GB Mi Max... including go on a weeks holiday with the money I saved!

    4. Slx

      And if the Tories keep flapping their mouths and causing Sterling to sink it could easily be £1200 by the time it launches.

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    "paying out the nose"

    What? Is this an Americanism? Blimey. Over 'ere we pay "through" the nose, or pay out ...I dunno... rope?

    Learn something new ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "paying out the nose"

      I'm an American, and I'm more used to the phrase "paying through the nose" as well. Sounds more like a case of someone trying to make sense of an absurd metaphor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "paying out the nose"

      Actually, we say "paying out the ass". But since you Brits can't even say ass properly, I don't blame the author for mixing the metaphor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "paying out the nose"

        Downvoted for being an arse hole.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "paying out the nose"

        > since you Brits can't even say ass properly,

        Over here we pronounce it donkey.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "paying out the nose"

          There is a reason that Bottom was an Ass ... Not that I know anything about British Literature, y'unnerstan' ;-)

      3. MrDamage

        Re: "paying out the nose"

        > "Actually, we say "paying out the ass". But since you Brits can't even say ass properly, I don't blame the author for mixing the metaphor."

        Brits, and Aussies for that matter, know how to says ass. It's just we know the difference between a donkey and a sphincter.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: "paying out the nose"

          Give the American a break - he makes a half decent joke then received a barrage of down-votes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Holmes

            Re: "paying out the nose"

            I broke the downvote counter the last time I made an observation about how rounders is a pathetically inverior version of American baseball.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: "paying out the nose"

              "I broke the downvote counter the last time I made an observation about how rounders is a pathetically inverior version of American baseball."

              Downvote for "inverior".

              From a non-native speaker.

              (Mine's the one with the copy of "English for Runaways" in the pocket.)

            2. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: "paying out the nose"

              I broke the downvote counter the last time I made an observation about how rounders is a pathetically inverior version of American baseball.

              Really? I could have expected that response maybe for Cricket, but not 'rounders' I thought only preteens played that...bu then I don't pay a lot of attention to sport, their might be a professional 'series', leaugue or 'world championship' I don't know about.

              No one would get that impassioned about an amateur game... You don't hear the Hockey fans belittle Polo much....

              I also got the impression most americans were less baseball focused in favour of 'football' the last few decades.

              1. flokie

                Re: "paying out the nose"

                Not sure whether that's an American thing or the NFL getting focus from the UK. Thinking of the NBA, getting virtually ignored here, but go to France and it's a big deal. I have no idea what's actually the most popular in the US. Baseball - which is the one with the all American "World Series" IIRC - certainly doesn't seem to get much following from Europe.

              2. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
                Coat

                Re: "paying out the nose"

                "No one would get that impassioned about an amateur game... You don't hear the Hockey fans belittle Polo much...."

                Field Hockey is just an inferior form of Hockey played without ice and only one arm.

                Polo is just an inferior form of Field Hockey played by arses riding large donkeys.

                FTFY. Didn't want to, but you asked for it.

                Mine's the one with the tuque hidden in the sleeve.

                1. Mark 85 Silver badge
                  Coat

                  Re: "paying out the nose"

                  Hockey (in North America at least) is, according to one well-known person, ice-skating, playing with a buck, and fighting all mix into one "sport". Icon: Coat because ice is cold.

                2. Mage Silver badge

                  Re: "paying out the nose"

                  Hurling is ice hockey without needing pesky ice.

                  1. Heironymous Coward

                    Re: "paying out the nose"

                    and the pesky armour.

                  2. jake Silver badge

                    Re: "paying out the nose"

                    Hurling is similar to slow-motion hockey lacking the necessary ice.

                    (The armor is kinda required; the human body isn't really designed for the kind of forces that can be generated when moving several times normal speed.)

            3. Def Silver badge

              Re: "paying out the nose"

              ...rounders is a pathetically inverior [sic] version of American baseball.

              That would have been funny if it wasn't for the fact that, a) the original game, Stoolball, has been played in England since the early 1500s, and b) Rounders used to be called Baseball (among other names) when it was played in England at least three decades before the USA even existed.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: "paying out the nose"

                Stick and ball games with "safe zones" for runners go back at least a couple thousand years, long before the concept of "England" existed. In Wales[0] they still play a variation called "Baseball" that goes back centuries.

                That said, as a Yank who enjoys both sports, I'm equally happy watching quality Cricket or professional American Baseball. But if I had my druthers, I'd rather be playing County Cricket. We're trying to get the sport to catch on here in the US, but it's been a bit of a slog ... the the way I see it, if the Soccer folks can make headway, Cricket has a shot.

                Yank football is conceptually a good sport, but the salary cap and arbitration ruined it.

                Basketball sucks. End of discussion.

                Ice Hockey is the sport of the gawd/esses. If you don't believe me, learn to play it.

                [0] For values of "Wales" that include Merseyside ...

              2. Nattrash
                Trollface

                Re: "paying out the nose"

                Now, I've seen all this talk about noses, sphincters, and donkeys here...

                And I know language can be a difficult, varied, and curious thing...

                But now you start talking about stool-ball...

                I know you Brits always were a bit weird, but talking about strange hobbies...

        2. oiseau Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "paying out the nose"

          "Brits, and Aussies for that matter, know how to says ass. It's just we know the difference between a donkey and a sphincter."

          Indeed ...

          And anyone else who speaks proper Queen's english, for that matter.

          But ...

          Wouldn't that be 'anus' and not 'sphincter'?

          Have a good weekend.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: "paying out the nose"

            "Wouldn't that be 'anus' and not 'sphincter'?"

            Oh, that's just horiiblus!

          2. Horridbloke

            Re: "paying out the nose"

            "Wouldn't that be 'anus' and not 'sphincter'?"

            For you perhaps. I went to a very posh school where it was pronounced "arnus".

        3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: "paying out the nose"

          As this seems to be the emerging topic for the weekend, book tip:

          Nick Cave - And the Ass Saw the Angel

          (And before you get any ideas, the title is a biblical quotation from the Book of Numbers, Chapter 22, Verses 23-31: "And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, ...")

      4. Colabroad

        Re: "paying out the nose"

        - "But since you Brits can't even say ass properly,"

        We are quite capable actually, we also know the difference between a donkey and one's poop chute!

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: "paying out the nose"

      Strangely enough, I grew up saying "through the nose (Palo Alto, California), When I got to Blighty for the first time (Bude), my friends at the Primary school used "out the nose".

      Ain't nowt daft as t'English Language ... thankfully. When you think about it, this place would be awfully boring if we all spoke^Wtyped the same dialect and with the same slang.

    4. Andy Tunnah

      Re: "paying out the nose"

      Out the arse or through the nose.

  3. redpawn Silver badge

    Not Ugly Enough

    These blinged-out phones are not up to the standards of ugly often desired by the near super rich and super rich. Just look at their newly built homes and you will get the idea.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Not Ugly Enough

      Well the BBC article states:

      "One technology analyst said Vertu would have faced competition from companies offering to customise other smartphones with precious materials."

      Which strikes as spot on. Anyone who has the money will want something tailor made for them by a boutique, rather than mere pricey commercial goods.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not Ugly Enough

        You could customise your vertu though with exotic leathers and skins etc. that was one of the selling points.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Not Ugly Enough

          As you can with any phone for a lot less.

          It's called a custom case.

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not Ugly Enough

        Well the BBC article states: "One technology analyst said Vertu would have faced competition..."

        Thank fuck they didn't say "would of". There's hope for us yet.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    So you can lose money by underestimating the taste of the public.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      *shakes head* I never thought I'd see the day...

  5. Tim99 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Android?

    Well, there's your problem.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Android?

      Right, you're not rich and stylish enough if you can't afford an iThing. The Internet says so.

  6. Amorous Cowherder
    Happy

    Oh come on

    It'd be easy to gloat but come on, if you had a great idea to attempt to help very rich trust-funded tat-collectors fork over their cash by the suitcase on some daft idea of yours, you wouldn't do it? I know I bloody well would!

    Shame, I really wanted Vertu to work as it proved beyond a doubt that there was several born every minute, not just one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh come on

      Shame, I really wanted Vertu to work as it proved beyond a doubt that there was several born every minute, not just one.

      It wasn't just making costly phones by adding bling, they also partnered with service providers without bothering to research the consequences.

  7. kain preacher Silver badge

    I believe there was an app on android that did nothing but cost $1000. THe point was just to show off

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Wasn't android, but yes there was.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Rich

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Thank you Adam as I could not remember if it was for the Android or IoS.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yew Shure ?

    "Funnily enough, charging ££££s for trashy bling-phones wasn't a great idea"

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/08/apple-market-capitalization-hits-800-billion.html

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    In hindsight plan failure is obvious.

    Blinged out Android --> perceived as cheap and common.

    Blinged out iThing --> perceived as exclusive X very expensive --> super duper exclusive --> desirable

    Hence very high "We wants if" factor.

  10. gryff

    "wasn't a great idea?"

    Sooo.....this idea worked great from 1998 to pretty recently...and wasn't a good idea?

    Hmmm...or is this an example of people knowing nothing about the business they are in, screwing things up? For example, BHS ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "wasn't a great idea?"

      Bear in mind that 200 people have lost their jobs here. Strange (or not) you should mention BHS since pension contributions are reported by the Telegraph to have allegedly gone astray from Vertu http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/26/staff-fears-jobs-luxury-smartphone-maker-vertu-corporation-bills/

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Should have marketed this at repellent hip-hoppers with money to burn

    Also:

    > £128m ($168m) in the red.

    How is that even possible? Just melt the metal casings and recover most of the value.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Christian Berger Silver badge

    You don't get rich from selling to the rich...

    ... you get rich for selling to the poor. That's why the two richest people in Germany were the 2 Albrecht Brothers who owned a little chain of stores called "Aldi".

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: You don't get rich from selling to the rich...

      The rich get rich by selling to the poor and buying off the poor... then?

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: You don't get rich from selling to the rich...

        Exactly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You don't get rich from selling to the rich...

      You don't get rich from selling to the rich...

      You can, but you will have to offer a product that offers something more than "I just make it more expensive by lobbing some bling at it" because that has a limited lifespan (and, I'd add, exposes you to competition with better bling).

      The primary problem that Vertu created for itself is that it didn't keep pace with the market. If someone who has enough money to consider a car a mere impulse buy sees they can get something better/newer off the shelf that all his or her friends already have, you will have lost that customer until such time as you offer something interesting again. Which they didn't, so they lost the plot mainly to Apple.

      Offer something that can't get anywhere else and the rich will beat a path to your door, but don't try to just raise the price of a commodity product by repackaging it with more gloss, that's a game with a limited lifespan.

      As Vertu has demonstrated.

  14. Andy Tunnah

    Well duh

    It's more important to be seen with the *latest* gear, not the flashiest, when it comes to phones

  15. gdh1986

    Sad, but not surprising

    Not sure I'm down with the gloating tone of this article/comments, given a UK SME has just bit the dust. Last trace of UK consumer electronics manufacturing/design, now that Motorola and Nokia are long gone?

    Ok, so the products clearly catered for the 'more money than taste' end of the market - fitting high end mechanical design/materials around a bog standard Nokia feature phone, and presented questionable value. I guess that model may have had legs 10 years ago with the financial and engineering might of Nokia, but it was always going to struggle to work as an independent in the world of gold plated iPhones.

    I spent a pleasant summer while at uni working there, smashing £k's worth of handsets to bits in their test labs. Genuinely nice place place to work, and there were some pretty legit materials/mechanical engineers around. Hopefully they'll all have found alternative employment in the local defence industry. Not sure the production staff will have it so easy - hand assembling phones is a bit of a niche skillset.

  16. Whitter
    Mushroom

    Why?

    "Uzan will keep control of the Vertu trademarks and patents with an eye on eventually relaunching the company through a separate corporation"

    Why?

    The folks they owe £168m should get first dabs at the assets, not the boss of a failed company.

  17. Karlis 1

    Lots of uninformed comments here. Heh, also earth is flat.

    Vertu was a little boutique arm of Nokia well before iThing was around.

    Their phones/devices were a niche thing, but a fair niche - quality casings, impeccable service. When you are earning on the order of thousands an hour a downtime of few hours pays for itself.

    Some time ago they were providing a concrete value add on. On top of 6320i and then S40.

    They made the bad bad mistake of mixing up with Android. For some time it was okay since stock Android was still a good experience, but ... then it no longer was.

    Yes, their market has been taken over by iThing, sometimes with bling, but more often than not just as default. Somehow target market is happy with it.

    Shame on 200 really talented guys still sticking it out, but ... well, it didn't work out.

  18. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    they should have rebranded...

    "fones4twats"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: they should have rebranded...

      If choosing how to spend their own money attracts such opprobrium, perhaps we could have your list of Jamie Jones Approved Spending For the Mega Rich?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: they should have rebranded...

        perhaps we could have your list of Jamie Jones Approved Spending For the Mega Rich?"

        JamieJones Estate Agents

        JamieJones Banking Services

        JamieJones Luxery Cars

        JamieJones Luxery Yachts

        JamieJones Catering Service

        JamieJones Security Service

        JamieJones ......

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: they should have rebranded...

        If choosing how to spend their own money attracts such opprobrium, perhaps we could have your list of Jamie Jones Approved Spending For the Mega Rich?

        Oh fuck off you humourless piece of sanctimonious anonymous shit. Do your "rich people white-knighting' where someone gives a crap.

    2. Captain Badmouth

      Re: they should have rebranded...

      "fones4twats"

      How about "Bling2Fling" ?

  19. Shane McCarrick

    Concierge Service

    People are getting hung-up on how 'bling' the phones were.

    The main selling point for a significant number of purchasers- was to access the concierge service- which was absolutely brilliant.

    Any business traveller- habitually away from home- needs some sort of a concierge service to get by. The Vertu- fulfilled this with spades. Sure- the phone looked like a piece of bling- but for many dedicated purchasers- this simply wasn't the point- it was the services behind the scenes that it enabled you to access.

    Personally- I don't have any need for the phone- or the service- but then again, I'm not part of the target market for this.

    I'm sad to see that its bitten the dust- however, I suspect, we'll see Vertu again, in one form or another- perhaps minus the bling phone- before too long.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Concierge Service

      Sure, but there are loads of concierge services around, and people will want to pick one that works best for them, not one that is bundled with their phone; and call them on their iPhone.

  20. Starace
    Flame

    Shit article

    This article is shit. Pure undiluted excrement.

    Its actually down to the standard of recent 'I made it all up' Daily Mail efforts.

    The author has started from a place where they didn't understand what has happened, padded it out with their own invention, then pressed send.

    Can we have a factual retread from some of the remaining El Reg talent rather than the sub standard San Fran element?

    Maybe start by looking at how the business ended up in its current ownership and what exactly happened since then.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Shit article

      Wanted one really, really badly, eh?

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