Facepalm: It seems bankruptcy and massive debt can't keep luxury smartphone maker Vertu down. The company, best-known for its several-thousand-dollar phones, has returned from a long hiatus to sell the world on its newest device: the Aster P. The smartphone is only available in China for now, but it's US-equivalent price tag would reportedly be around $5,200.
If you've never heard the name Vertu before, you probably aren't alone. The company has made waves in the tech community over the years for selling multi-thousand-dollar luxury smartphones, but it never get enough mainstream traction to remain financially viable in the long run.
Indeed, after reports of unpaid staff and mounting debts began to surface in June, 2017, it became clear that Vertu was on its way out. The following month, the phone maker folded entirely. However, its owner, Uzan, reportedly had plans to resurrect the company at a later date - and resurrect the company it has, because Vertu is back yet again with the "Aster P."
The Aster P is a $4,200 smartphone running on Android 8.1 Oreo, with a Snapdragon 660 chip, a 1920x1080p AMOLED display, a 3,200mAh battery, 6GB of memory, and 128GB of flash storage. The Aster P's high asking price may be cheaper than some of Vertu's most expensive smartphones, but it's still far from affordable for the mainstream consumer. Apple's iPhone XS Max is already pushing the limits of what users are willing to pay for a smartphone, and it has decidedly better specifications than the Aster P.
With that said, Vertu's target audience has obviously never been the average user. It's uniquely-designed luxury smartphones are more geared towards wealthier individuals. To that end, what makes the Aster P appealing? To start with, all Aster P devices will be handmade; these aren't mass-produced in a factory.
Furthermore, as reported by 9to5Google, the device's 4.9" display is made of 133-carat "sapphire crystal" glass, and it's covered in expensive-looking crocodile and lizard leather. It also has gold trim - it's not clear whether or not it's actually real gold, but given the Aster P's price tag and Vertu's track record, we wouldn't put it past the device's designers.
The Aster P is available in China now for 29,800¥, which is around $4295.
Image courtesy Vertu via 9to5Google