Does anybody remember Vertu?
I bought one of these things once, bear with me on this
Vertu, formerly owned by Nokia, is/was a British-based luxury phone manufacturer that specialized in ultra-expensive phones for the mega rich. Their phones were built using high-end materials like titanium, carbon, gold and platinum and came with a cool feature called Concierge, which was essentially an earlier attempt at creating a Siri-style personal assistant.
The Concierge service, which was free for the first year and then around $3k every 12 months, was very easy to use. You'd use the Concierge button, usually located on the right-hand side of the phone, and the assistant would answer and help with you anything from hotel reservations to weather forecast.
Founded in 1998, Vertu's popularity peaked in the late 2000s / early 2010s but the brand inevitably declined because it became increasingly difficult to justify the atrocious price tag of their phones.
Technology moves faster than anything else and this is especially true with mobile phones. Today we're using our smartphones to do everything and anything and yet, just over twenty years ago, most people didn't even have a mobile phone. It's astounding when you think about it.
Vertu phones used Nokia interface, which means they went from being okayish to downright useless very quickly and the Apple iPhone was the nail in the coffin because the only thing that the 99 % and the 1% have in common in terms of customer buying habits is they both use iPhones. Vertu even tried producing handsets in partnership with Ferrari and Bentley but these phones were too expensive to make sense, usually ranging from $20,000-40,000 on average, and they depreciated faster than overripe oranges.
That's probably the reason why I was able to buy one a few years ago. I'd been thinking about it for a while and I eventually found a pre-owned Vertu Constellation on eBay for €200. It was based on the Nokia S40 UI's interface, which means it was barely usable, but it was a nice item. It came in a big box that for some reason also had a pleasant smell and it was made using leather and titanium. After sitting in the closet at home for about two years I eventually sold it in 2015 for €275. At least I was able to walk away financially unscathed from this ordeal.
Vertu was an interesting project and stylish ideas but let's face it, it was doomed to fail from the get-go.