We’ve seen more than a few smartphones by Vertu and we’ve even handled a few but the first reaction we have is almost always “Who the heck buys these things?” And the answer, at least now, is “Fewer people”. That’s because Vertu is going away and it is taking its insanely overpriced phones (and around 200 jobs) with it.
Despite high-end partnerships and handset hand-made with premium materials like leather and carbon from a Ferrari, for instance, Vertu has been in trouble for a while. Some handsets have been seeing price cuts but when a single phone can cost between R70,000 and R180,000, cutting the price isn’t going to do a whole lot to drive sales.
Particularly since the likes of Apple and Samsung have been making the brand look bad for some time, specifications-wise. The company previously spent most of its effort on luxury materials and less on actual performance. It’s only very recently that the company has been able to release something on par with current-gen handsets — usually they’re a year behind.
And most people are like us, in that they have a budget and will, f given a choice between a R150,000 smartphone that an insurance company won’t touch with a ten-foot clause or a far faster Galaxy S8 or iPhone 7, go with the handset that only costs around R15,000. Or ten of them, if you really have to make up the price of one of Vertu’s crop of devices.
Vertu’s owner, a Turkish exile named Hakan Uzan, still harbours hope the the company can come back from its current situation. He’ll be retaining rights to the brand and could, perhaps, bring Vertu back from the dead. Hey, if Nokia can do it…