If you're tired of the iPhone's ubiquity and long for a sleeker cellphone that embodies the charm of British manufacturing – and are willing to fork out 4,900 Euros ($6,600) – then upscale handset maker Vertu has just launched the Constellation..
At a time when Apple's latest iPhone launch unveiled an upmarket and a cheaper version, the 5S and the 5C, Vertu wants to focus solely on the high end of the market. Back in June, the company appointed Jonathan Sinclair its chief operating officer, having previously worked in the same role for luxury fashion brand Jimmy Choo.
Vertu's move runs against a general trend towards cheaper handsets. A research note from Macquarie recently suggested that manufacturers of high-end smartphones may be forced to lower prices in the coming months, as the market nears saturation and users slow the pace of changing phones. Some mobile network operators recently reduced the price of BlackBerry's Z10 from $199 to $49, including service contract.
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There is now competition from Chinese smartphone makers, such as Xiaomi, whose Hongmi handset has similar specifications to the Apple iPhone 5C but is sold for only $130, compared to $733 price tag for Apple's phone in China.
So how much bang do you get for your buck? The Constellation uses a 5.1 inch piece of sapphire crystal, weighing more than 100 carats, to cover the front of the phone. Sapphire is used as it is resistant to scratching from anything bar diamond. Although one presumes a fair few large diamond rings will be rubbing up against the Constellation.
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