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Bling, bling…Part II

Bling, bling…Part II

Will consumers still connect with luxury mobiles when the recession is over? Part II.

November 25, 2009 8:14 by

Click here to read Part I.

Fizzle and sizzle

With luxury mobile phones, though, the news is mixed. Motorola for one has cancelled the launch of their Ivory E18 device, tentatively priced at $3,000. Last year, Bang & Olufsen shut their mobile phone business to trim costs.

On the other hand, players like Samsung and Sony Ericsson are going full steam ahead on their designer phones. Earlier this year, Samsung teamed up with Italian designer Giorgio Armani to launch a new Armani-designed smartphone. In August, Sony Ericsson announced their Dolce & Gabbana fashionista phone named Jalou (envy), which is shorter than a lipstick and sports a built-in mirror. And S.T. DuPont has teamed up with Pantech to launch their own designer phones, while LG will follow up with more phones made in collaboration with Prada. Most of these luxury devices sell in the $1,000 range. Not to be daunted, uber-premium mobile phone maker Vertu is pressing ahead with its 2009 range.

So, what’s really happening?

Some are going north while others are heading south. According to Frank Nuovo, VP and chief of design at Vertu, “the concept is the same as a fine watch or a fabulous car. To be a true luxury product, you have to look at making something that doesn’t have an 18-month shelf life.”

The way he sees it, a mere $2,000 phone is not “true” luxury. “If… something is made extraordinarily well there will always be a group interested in it.” And that is apparently what’s driving Vertu.

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