Just three months after its European release, the exclusive handcrafted Vertu Ti smartphone is officially on sale in India.
Priced at an eye-watering Rs 649990, (€9000) the titanium-bodied Android phone is targeted at celebrities and VIPs and is therefore built more around features than performance -- chief among these being its Vertu Key lifestyle services. These services include a 24/7 concierge, exclusive editorial content, city guides and special, exclusive events and experiences, curated for the user based on his or her passions and preferences.
The phone is, at its base, an Android smartphone that runs Ice Cream Sandwich, a version of the operating system that is already nearly two years old and therefore isn't optimized for the latest apps. Still, it does have one or two standard specifications to make other smartphone owners envious including its use of sapphire glass to protect its display, rather than Gorilla Glass.
The strongest substance currently available for glassmaking, it is virtually scratch-proof and is so tough it is used in the manufacture of body armor. However, it is still too expensive for mainstream smartphone manufacturers to use in large quantities. The iPhone 5 uses a tiny piece of it to protect the rear-facing camera's lens but even with its high margins Apple can't afford to build handsets with a sapphire glass screen.
The Vertu TI also offers 64GB of internal storage, meaning that it has been designed for the long term -- there will always be space for apps and photos no matter how large they continue to get. But even so, with a price tag 14 times greater than that of the latest iPhone (which currently retails for a ‘meager' Rs45500) the Vertu could prove a hard sell even to India's elite.