After 18 years of business luxury mobile maker Vertu is closing its doors, leaving nearly 200 staff redundant – a sad end to a once proud brand that boasted they never made a financial loss. Of course that was in 2015 when the British company launched their last new offering, the Signature Touch Android smartphone, but since then, according to the BBC, Vertu have made losses of around £128 million and changed ownership three times.
Vertu handmade unique smartphones and mobiles using luxury materials such as sapphire glass, ceramics, leather, platinum and precious gems to create wonderfully styled devices that could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars – and that’s not including bespoke one-off custom creations for the ultra-rich. Yet their great weakness was in the use of outdated OS and technology – they carried on producing Symbian 40 mobiles long past the obsolescence of the OS, claiming that it was ‘because our mature customers want something familiar’.
The launch of the Signature Touch series in 2015 was significant in that it was an Android device with class-leading technical features like a Snapdragon 810 processor, 21-megapixel camera and 5.2-inch sapphire glass touchscreen, and promised not only encrypted voice and data security but also a dedicated Vertu Life app catered for luxury travelers. It was meant to help Vertu recapture customers who had switched to other Android and iOS devices for their much better functionality, but in a rapidly developing world of yearly smartphone updates Vertu simply failed to keep up.