As Versace prepares to launch its ultra luxury mobile phone next month, the fashion house might just spark a shake-up in the sector. Phones at the highest end of the spectrum have continued to perform well in recent years, despite refusing to bow down to every new technological innovation.
The superior quality offered by makers such as Vertu and Tag Heuer has been enough of a differentiator from the average gadget enhanced mobile phone.Offering a kind of authenticity unavailable elsewhere in the mobile phone sector, these phones are elevated above the functional with hand-stitched leather casing, perfect weighting, crystal screens and a high level craftsmanship. They are not designed to compete with smartphones, more likely to serve instead as an exquisite second phone to a Blackberry or iPhone user. The Versace Unique, however, is expected to cause ripples in the mobile industry once it’s launched at Paris Couture week next month.
It may follow in the footsteps of fashion phones from names like Giorgio Armani and Prada, but in terms of price and specification, Versace’s Unique is expected to punch way above these incarnations, creating new competition at the very top end of the market. The mobile device has a sapphire crystal screen – the largest single piece ever offered in a consumer device. Gold plating and high-tech ceramic or handmade lacquer construction options are available. But crucially, the device has been created in collaboration with LG and ModeLabs, boasting smartphone technology such as a touch-screen and MP3 music files and video.
Not that market leaders like Vertu have been standing still. Launched this month, Vertu’s new Ascent incorporates new technology, new user services, and aerospace-grade materials. The British phone maker is also said to have a fully-fledged smartphone on the way. Of course technology is not what has driven Vertu’s popularity amongst HNWIs in the past. But if brands like Vertu make moves to match the quality of their technology with their craftsmanship while new contenders like Versace enter the arena from the other direction, the ultra luxury phone niche looks poised for an exciting era of development.