Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Waste or worth? $10,000 smartphone

    Just Watched

    Would you want a $10,000 smartphone?

Would you want a $10,000 smartphone? 03:07

Story highlights

  • Vertu Ti boasts sapphire-crystal screen, titanium casing
  • $10,000 price tag includes personal concierge service, voice encrypted calls
  • CEO Oosting: "We're not after market share"
  • CNN's dos Santos: Only 320,000 Vertu smartphones have been sold

If new is a necessity, tech is your god and money no object then a $10,000 Vertu smartphone will probably catch your eye.

The British-based luxury mobile phone maker unveiled the Vertu Ti this week. Its sapphire-crystal screen is virtually scratchproof, says the company, while a titanium casing helps keep data safe and sound.

But in this 21st century mobile phone paradigm in which consumers buy a new phone every few years -- and where new products roll out every year (or even less) -- does it make sense to splurge on a swank smartphone with a price tag closer to that of a small car or several months' apartment rent?

"If you are interested in something which is different, unique" then this device might be for you, said Vertu CEO Perry Oosting to CNN's Nina dos Santos.

The Vertu Ti (pronounced "tee-eye") emphasizes the value of "durable" over "disposable" materials that a consumer might expect from the luxury category, added Oosting. "More the touch and the feel and the sensory experience."

    Just Watched

    Apple under fire

Apple under fire 03:33
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Samsung takes a bite out of Apple

Samsung takes a bite out of Apple 02:11
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Erin Burnett test drives BlackBerry 10

Erin Burnett test drives BlackBerry 10 02:22
PLAY VIDEO

And with the sensory experience comes luxury services that go beyond that of a mainstream smartphone including a concierge service at the push of a button and encrypted voice calls to protect your company trade secrets.

    Yet another selling point is the software that powers the Ti.

    Former Vertu phones ran on the now-passé Symbian software. The Vertu Ti, meanwhile, runs on an Android operating system in a sign of its separation from former parent company Nokia. The flailing Finnish mobile giant lost $2.7 billion in the first nine months of 2012 and announced last June that it would sell Vertu to private equity group EQT VI.

    "We live in a world where there's open operating systems that are quite open to use," explained Oosting on the new angle to Android. "Android is just delivering great software. It's very democratic."

    But while the operating system is open to all, the costly Vertu clearly is not.

    Around the world, only about 320,000 Vertu smartphones have been sold, said CNN's dos Santos, a number that pales in comparison to Samsung and Apple, the global smartphone market leaders.

    For all of 2012, Samsung sold more than 215 million smartphones for a 30.3% global market share and top ranking, according to IDC Worldwide. Apple sold nearly 136 million smartphones in 2012 for a 19.1% slice of global market share. Even Vertu's former parent company Nokia sold more than 35 million smartphones last year.

    But Vertu's CEO simply says he does not envisage the masses talking and texting on a Ti.

    "Absolutely not. That's never our drive. We're not after market share. We're not after high quantities," said Oosting. "We want to deliver an authentic, made in Hampshire, made by one person, a unique proposition that is a true sensory experience in terms of the experience of the device."

    And consumers who buy the Ti will surely want to avoid losing their pricy purchase.

    Then again, if they can afford one, they might be well-positioned to afford a replacement.

      CNN Business

    • An Iraqi worker adjusts a control valve at the Daura oil refinery on November 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq and a grouping of U.S and European oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed a $50 billion contract today to develop the West Qurna oilfield, two days after the Iraqi South Oil Company signed a technical service contract with Britain's BP and China's CNPC to develop the Rumaila oilfield. The Iraqi government is trying to attract foreign investment, especially in the oil sector, in hopes of reviving its war-torn economy. Iraq has the third largest oil reserve in the world but it is producing way below its potential. (Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)

      Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
    • A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

      The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
    • People enter a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 18, 2009. Las Vegas is the most populus city in the US state of Nevada and internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, fine dining and entertainment. Las Vegas which bills itself as the �Entertainment Capital of the World� is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

      Macau has overtaken Switzerland in the wealth stakes, being named the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank.
    • spc marketplace middle east ata atmar a_00010015.jpg

      Saudi Arabian Bateel brand is best known for its delectable dates but it now has more than a dozen cafes and a new bakery in the works.
    • Vantablack designed by Surrey NanoSystems absorbs 99.96% of all light. It however will not be the solution to the creating the world's ultimate slimming black dress! A dress made out of this material would render the curves and contours of the human body invisible and would leave the wearer looking like 'two dimensional cardboard cut-out.'

      A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material. It is so dark the human eye can't discern its shape and form.
    • Jibo robot is designed to be an organizer, educator and assist family members. CNN's Maggie Lake met him and says she was impressed with his skills.
    • A picture taken on March 15, 2014 shows children playing at the sprawling desert Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan near the border with Syria which provides shelter to around 100,000 Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees in the seven-square-kilometre (2.8-square-mile) Zaatari camp in Jordan fear that President Bashar al-Assad's likely re-election this year will leave their dream of a return home as distant as ever. The brutal war in Syria between the regime and its foes shows no sign of abating and has killed at least 146,000 people since it erupted in mid-March 2011. And 2.5 million Syrians have fled abroad and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced. Jordan is home to more than 500,000 of the refugees.

      Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
    • SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Queen Elizabeth II wears 3 D glasses to watch a display and pilot a JCB digger, during a visit to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research centre, on November 18, 2010 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by John Giles - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      At the last football World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.
    • An Iraqi worker adjusts a control valve at the Daura oil refinery on November 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq and a grouping of U.S and European oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed a $50 billion contract today to develop the West Qurna oilfield, two days after the Iraqi South Oil Company signed a technical service contract with Britain's BP and China's CNPC to develop the Rumaila oilfield. The Iraqi government is trying to attract foreign investment, especially in the oil sector, in hopes of reviving its war-torn economy. Iraq has the third largest oil reserve in the world but it is producing way below its potential. (Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)

      Iraq produces 3.3 million barrels per day and has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. But the current crisis is putting all this in danger.
    • Valves of gas pipe-line are seen in the gas station not far from Kiev on March 4, 2014. The European Union will help Ukraine pay the $2.0 billion it owes to Russian gas giant Gazprom, a top official said Tuesday, as part of an aid package reportedly worth more than one billion euros. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREY SINITSIN (Photo credit should read ANDREY SINITSIN/AFP/Getty Images)

      The gas standoff between Russia and Ukraine could have a knock-on effect on Europe. Explore this map to find out why is the EU nervous.