Luxury smartphone maker Vertu today announced a $40 million deal that will allow it to use “advanced and innovative technology” from TCL Communication in future handsets. The company says it is the first of many investments it will be making to improve its business.
You’re probably familiar with the Vertu brand, but it’s unlikely you’ve ever owned a Vertu phone. That’s because each one is handmade from premium materials like crystal and crocodile skin, and incredibly expensive. It’s also possible to get a much better handset — at least on the inside — for a fraction of the cost from more established brands.
But that hasn’t stopped Vertu from becoming a coveted name among the wealthiest smartphone buyers. And to ensure that remains the case, the British company is “going through a substantial restructuring and modernisation of all its business units, whilst preserving the heritage and craftsmanship it is renowned for around the world.”
It begins with a $40 million investment in TCL Communication, the Chinese company that manufactures smartphones under the Alcatel and BlackBerry brands. The deal will enable Vertu to “use advanced and innovative technology from TCL Communication for 30,000 handcrafted Vertu phones, to be produced at the Vertu facility in Church Crookham, Hampshire.”
Vertu doesn’t go into detail about what that technology will bring, but it says customers will have access to limited, special-edition Constellation X products as soon as mid-July in certain markets. The “new generation” of Vertu Concierge Services will also be introduced in mid-July, with a new wide-ranging portfolio of Vertu Life Style Products arriving in September.
“We are delighted to have signed this agreement with TCL Communication,” said entrepreneur Hakan Uzan, who purchased Vertu in March. “It is the first of many, considerable investments we are making into the business. TCL Communication is a valued partner of Vertu and we hope that this will be the start of a prosperous new chapter in our relationship.”
Vertu’s new products will be available in its key markets of the U.K., France, China, Asia, Russia, Western Europe, and the Middle East.