Luxury phones, segment prospects

Nokia has pioneered the luxury phone segment, setting the bar for quality for this kind of handset. The Nokia subsidiary in the first years of its existence was not successful in terms of sales, the company gained its first experience in the luxury goods market, approached it with different estimates. Having the technology in hand, the ability to work with various materials, the company did not fully understand the specifics of the market for expensive, fashionable devices. But in the process of work, they changed their vision and came to global dominance in this market. On the other hand, if we draw parallels with other markets, such as watches or cars, then Vertu's dominance is imaginary. The company sells the largest number of phones in the 4000 Euro and above segment, but it has no other competitors. Comparing the capacity of the luxury market for the same cars, we will see that the potential for the phone market is huge, this niche is occupied by 10-15 percent at the most, that is, growth is possible at times. An indirect confirmation of this is the activity of "independent" companies that create their own design variations, cases for serial models. The recipe for such models is extremely simple. A production model from Nokia is taken, a different case made of “interesting” materials is put on it, and then it is positioned as a fashionable, expensive offer. This is the way, for example, Mobiado, this Canadian company has gained a lot of followers in recent years. But the volume of production and sales for such companies is microscopic, they do not have a strong brand, recognition in the eyes of buyers is minimal. The presence of sales as such is dictated by the very vacuum in the luxury segment, which everyone who understands this is trying to fill.

Indirect confirmation of the lack of adequate supply in this market niche is the huge number of phones with diamonds. Users try to emphasize their peculiarity by ordering similar delights from jewelers, which, as a rule, look clumsy, change the original design of the phone. It is by no means an ideal solution, plus such a head-on approach causes rejection among many, it is considered bad taste.

If we consider Vertu phones as the first experience of luxury phones, then other players appeared with a big delay. In 2009, the market will experience the first stage of growth for the first time, when new names appear. In the future, not only Vertu and all the others, but Vertu and other brands will be on the market, competition will begin at a different level.

What experience have you gained at Vertu, and how are these products different from other models? Initially, Vertu phones were as simple as possible in the technical aspect, to some extent a copy of the 8000 series, that is, a minimum of functions, voice-oriented. People bought phones but wanted more features. As a result, devices from Vertu about a year ago began to acquire the latest generation technologies, the Ti smartphone appeared, and in addition to the Concierge service, the company offered services for storing user data (Fortress), content selection (Vertu Select), in a word, it began to develop a service direction. Let's add here the initial creation of exclusive content, melodies, screensavers for phones from Vertu. These devices are well distinguishable by the quality of the call, they can be recognized by ear. For Vertu, the threat of the emergence of other players is minimal, because the company has already made a leap forward.It is extremely difficult and expensive to create such services, to achieve recognition in the market. Beginners will have to build not only and not so much a distribution system as build service centers, focus on the functionality of phones in order to match the models from Vertu. And here another factor can play on their side, namely the popularity of the brand, the loyalty of users to this brand.

First signs - new names in the luxury market

In 2009, several companies enter the luxury phone market at once. One of them is well known to us, it's Motorola. MOTOAURA is the first product in this segment and others will follow. The price group in which Motorola will play is 2000-4000 Euros. The company does not lay claim to the laurels of Vertu, it is trying to oust modifiers from the market, those who put their cases on original Nokia phones or paint models with rhinestones and diamonds. The strengths of Motorola phones include uncompromising quality of materials, excellent mechanics, plus good software, comparable to modern phone models. This will keep the model up to date for the entire service life, which is maximum for such devices and ranges from 2 to 4 years. But until new announcements, we will not reveal the veil of secrecy over phones from Motorola, we will leave this right to the company. For now, let's move on to non-traditional players in the phone market, namely watch brands. Knowledgeable readers may say that I'm deliberately ignoring phones from Samsung that will perform in the segment of 2000 Euros and above, but this is not so. The example of the Samsung Ego is indicative, it did not become an event on the market, there is no perception of Samsung in the luxury segment. Rather, Samsung belongs to the class of modifiers, the significance of products under its brand for the luxury market is low. Hence the complete silence about the metal slider, a fun toy, but nothing more.

Swiss watch brands have several huge advantages in the eyes of consumers. They are known for quality products, their perception as a manufacturer of luxury goods is maximum. The disadvantages include the lack of expertise in the field of mobile phones. Watch companies cannot work with mobile phone manufacturers. For example, Nokia already has a subsidiary Vertu, they definitely do not want to produce competitors with their own hands, and the volume of production that pays for the development of the phone starts with one million devices. Motorola themselves are hatching such plans. Korean companies would be happy to release such phones, but they have a different approach, there is no price fixing, which looks like the biggest crime in the watch market, this approach destroys the market itself. Therefore, the destiny of Korean companies is to work with relatively massive fashion brands such as Armani, Prada and others. Sony Ericsson remains, but negotiations with it ended in nothing for several players. The manufacturer also plans to enter the market of expensive devices, but wants to do it gradually. Whether it succeeds or not remains an open question, as the company's plans are changing right before our eyes. With a high degree of probability, this will happen in late 2009 - early 2010. Of course, if the next round of the crisis does not confuse all plans, and luxury models are not rescheduled to even later dates.

The instigator was Tag Heuer, about five years ago the company began to explore the possibility of entering the phone market. These studies did not go unnoticed by other watchmakers, but did not lead to any action. Another thing is that about 2 years ago the market received an unambiguous signal - the phone from Tag Heuer is ready and it is being shown to distributors. This gave impetus to a new wave of discussions and even the creation of such an apparatus as the Ulysse Nardin Chairman. From that moment on, we can assume that the market revived, began to develop, and in the future other names will appear on it.

The circuit that came to life for Tag Heuer is very simple. The watch company understands its customers and is trying to create another style element that complements the watch, but it is not. Heredity is manifested in the play on the clock on the top end of the phone, but no direct analogies or replacement of one accessory with another. Separate clock, separate phone. No Napoleonic sales plans, this is an additional accessory with the aesthetics of the company and nothing more. The French company Modelabs acts as a partner in the project, we can say that this is a joint venture. From Tag Heuer's side, the brand, ideas, material and quality control, and distribution have been invested in it. The filling comes from Modelabs, it does not strike the imagination, but there was no task to build a super-phone, an ordinary phone for calls that works for a long time on a single charge. The price range is from 3500 to 30000 Euro, depending on the materials chosen by the buyer.

Does this product have a future? Definitely yes. This is a model that professes exactly the same approaches as when creating watches. Fixed cost throughout the life cycle, simplicity of functions, positioning the phone as an accessory. The company frankly says that they see the device from Tag Heuer as something between glasses and watches, an element of style. This is the second phone for you, a device that shows your personality. But not a business tool. Given that the volume of production of such devices is small, we can talk about 15-20 thousand phones in the first year of sales with a very good demand. One of these days we will publish a big interview about Tag Heuer Meridiist, which will reveal many questions about the positioning of the phone, the history of creation.

It is curious that Modelabs also created a phone for Christian Dior in a similar way. This is also a fashion device, but the price range is more modest. Much more modest, it also exploits the power of the brand, offering an unusual accessory. And this is the main thing in such products - a luxury phone is the last thing a phone, its perception, its positioning as a fashion device is at the forefront.

At BaselWorld'09 Ulysse Nardin, famous for its watches, showed its interpretation of the mobile phone as a luxury product. The design of the device is as similar as possible to a watch, even the head for winding the mechanism and the kinetic mechanism, which allegedly generates energy for the battery. This is a completely contrived technology, as the power consumption of a smartphone is much higher. To charge the battery for a minute of talking, you will have to walk with the phone for about 12-13 hours, which looks a bit excessive. On the other hand, as a feature that connects the Chairman's phone with the watch, this is a successful find.

Summarizing the above, we can boldly say that in 2009 the market will see the birth of such a phenomenon as telephone manufactories. These are manufacturers who will use well-known brands and release their phones under them. Of course, in small print runs, and the cost of devices will range from 2 to 60 thousand Euros. Vertu's market share will fall, but not due to a weakening of positions, but, on the contrary, due to the explosive growth of a segment that has been greatly underestimated until now and in which there were no adequate offers.

Luxury phones, segment prospects

Nokia has pioneered the luxury phone segment, setting the bar for quality for this kind of handset. The Nokia subsidiary in the first years of its existence was not successful in terms of sales, the company gained its first experience in the luxury goods market, approached it with different estimates. Having the technology in hand, the ability to work with various materials, the company did not fully understand the specifics of the market for expensive, fashionable devices. But in the process of work, they changed their vision and came to global dominance in this market.On the other hand, if we draw parallels with other markets, such as watches or cars, then Vertu's dominance is imaginary. The company sells the largest number of phones in the 4000 Euro and above segment, but it has no other competitors. Comparing the capacity of the luxury market for the same cars, we will see that the potential for the phone market is huge, this niche is occupied by 10-15 percent at the most, that is, growth is possible at times. An indirect confirmation of this is the activity of "independent" companies that create their own design variations, cases for serial models. The recipe for such models is extremely simple. A production model from Nokia is taken, a different case made of “interesting” materials is put on it, and then it is positioned as a fashionable, expensive offer. This is the way, for example, Mobiado, this Canadian company has gained a lot of followers in recent years. But the volume of production and sales for such companies is microscopic, they do not have a strong brand, recognition in the eyes of buyers is minimal. The presence of sales as such is dictated by the very vacuum in the luxury segment, which everyone who understands this is trying to fill.

First signs - new names in the luxury market

In 2009, several companies enter the luxury phone market at once. One of them is well known to us, it's Motorola. MOTOAURA is the first product in this segment and others will follow. The price group in which Motorola will play is 2000-4000 Euros. The company does not lay claim to the laurels of Vertu, it is trying to oust modifiers from the market, those who put their cases on original Nokia phones or paint models with rhinestones and diamonds. The strengths of Motorola phones include uncompromising quality of materials, excellent mechanics, plus good software, comparable to modern phone models. This will keep the model up to date for the entire service life, which is maximum for such devices and ranges from 2 to 4 years. But until new announcements, we will not reveal the veil of secrecy over phones from Motorola, we will leave this right to the company. For now, let's move on to non-traditional players in the phone market, namely watch brands. Knowledgeable readers may say that I'm deliberately ignoring phones from Samsung that will perform in the segment of 2000 Euros and above, but this is not so. The example of the Samsung Ego is indicative, it did not become an event on the market, there is no perception of Samsung in the luxury segment. Rather, Samsung belongs to the class of modifiers, the significance of products under its brand for the luxury market is low. Hence the complete silence about the metal slider, a fun toy, but nothing more.

Swiss watch brands have several huge advantages in the eyes of consumers. They are known for quality products, their perception as a manufacturer of luxury goods is maximum. The disadvantages include the lack of expertise in the field of mobile phones. Watch companies cannot work with mobile phone manufacturers. For example, Nokia already has a subsidiary Vertu, they definitely do not want to produce competitors with their own hands, and the volume of production that pays for the development of the phone starts with one million devices. Motorola themselves are hatching such plans. Korean companies would be happy to release such phones, but they have a different approach, there is no price fixing, which looks like the biggest crime in the watch market, this approach destroys the market itself. Therefore, the destiny of Korean companies is to work with relatively massive fashion brands such as Armani, Prada and others. Sony Ericsson remains, but negotiations with it ended in nothing for several players. The manufacturer also plans to enter the market of expensive devices, but wants to do it gradually. Whether it succeeds or not remains an open question, as the company's plans are changing right before our eyes. With a high degree of probability, this will happen in late 2009 - early 2010. Of course, if the next round of the crisis does not confuse all plans, and luxury models are not rescheduled to even later dates.

The instigator was Tag Heuer, about five years ago the company began to explore the possibility of entering the phone market. These studies did not go unnoticed by other watchmakers, but did not lead to any action. Another thing is that about 2 years ago the market received an unambiguous signal - the phone from Tag Heuer is ready and it is being shown to distributors. This gave impetus to a new wave of discussions and even the creation of such an apparatus as the Ulysse Nardin Chairman. From that moment on, we can assume that the market revived, began to develop, and in the future other names will appear on it.

The circuit that came to life for Tag Heuer is very simple. The watch company understands its customers and is trying to create another style element that complements the watch, but it is not. Heredity is manifested in the play on the clock on the top end of the phone, but no direct analogies or replacement of one accessory with another. Separate clock, separate phone. No Napoleonic sales plans, this is an additional accessory with the aesthetics of the company and nothing more. The French company Modelabs acts as a partner in the project, we can say that this is a joint venture. From Tag Heuer's side, the brand, ideas, material and quality control, and distribution have been invested in it. The filling comes from Modelabs, it does not strike the imagination, but there was no task to build a super-phone, an ordinary phone for calls that works for a long time on a single charge. The price range is from 3500 to 30000 Euro, depending on the materials chosen by the buyer.

Does this product have a future? Definitely yes. This is a model that professes exactly the same approaches as when creating watches. Fixed cost throughout the life cycle, simplicity of functions, positioning the phone as an accessory. The company frankly says that they see the device from Tag Heuer as something between glasses and watches, an element of style. This is the second phone for you, a device that shows your personality. But not a business tool. Given that the volume of production of such devices is small, we can talk about 15-20 thousand phones in the first year of sales with a very good demand. One of these days we will publish a big interview about Tag Heuer Meridiist, which will reveal many questions about the positioning of the phone, the history of creation.

It is curious that Modelabs also created a phone for Christian Dior in a similar way. This is also a fashion device, but the price range is more modest. Much more modest, it also exploits the power of the brand, offering an unusual accessory. And this is the main thing in such products - a luxury phone is the last thing a phone, its perception, its positioning as a fashion device is at the forefront.

At BaselWorld'09 Ulysse Nardin, famous for its watches, showed its interpretation of the mobile phone as a luxury product. The design of the device is as similar as possible to a watch, even the head for winding the mechanism and the kinetic mechanism, which allegedly generates energy for the battery. This is a completely contrived technology, as the power consumption of a smartphone is much higher. To charge the battery for a minute of talking, you will have to walk with the phone for about 12-13 hours, which looks a bit excessive. On the other hand, as a feature that connects the Chairman's phone with the watch, this is a successful find.

Unlike the same Tag Heuer Meridiist, this device was made less of a telephone, more of a watch, if you like. The desire was to release a product costing between 7000 and 40000 Euro Kia is not for everyone. The company says that no more than 1846 pieces of each model will be produced. The word “model” in Ulysse Nardin does not mean a product model, as is customary all over the world, but a color solution. For example, a “model” with a gold case will have 1846 pieces, a blue case with 1846 pieces, and so on. A plate with the machine number will be attached to the back side. Therefore, when you buy blue and gold phones, you can see that their numbers are identical, this is the approach of the company, which considers different colors as different offers. On the site www.unchairman.com you can already see about a dozen different colors. The device will appear on sale in autumn, it will be sold in stores where watches of the same brand are presented.

The problem with the service is noted in the press release, in particular, it says that a very high level of service, typical for Ulysse Nardin, will be provided. Translated into the language of ordinary phrases, I can note that this means sending a broken apparatus to Switzerland, where it will be repaired for some time. Considering how many models of my Swiss watches have been repaired in a similar way, I don’t see any big pluses in this. For such, in fact, manufacturing industries, service turns into a very weak point. On the other hand, we all believe in the best and that our phone or watch will never break.

Technically, the Ulysse Nardin Chairman is interesting in that it is a Windows Mobile smartphone (presumably so, there is no evidence to the contrary yet), with a 2.8-inch touch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, a fingerprint scanner that provides access to the contents of the phone's memory . The stuffing of this device is not yet ready, it has not been shown to anyone except for future distributors.In fact, we are talking about some kind of dummy, and what's inside - one can only guess. One thing is for sure: of the new generation of relatively mass-produced luxury phones, this one will have the smallest circulation and the highest cost. First of all, the device is intended for fans of the Ulysse Nardin brand. And the last thing I would like to note about this device. It does not have a clock, only screen savers with company symbols and a clock face.

Summarizing the above, we can boldly say that in 2009 the market will see the birth of such a phenomenon as telephone manufactories. These are manufacturers who will use well-known brands and release their phones under them. Of course, in small print runs, and the cost of devices will range from 2 to 60 thousand Euros. Vertu's market share will fall, but not due to a weakening of positions, but, on the contrary, due to the explosive growth of a segment that has been greatly underestimated until now and in which there were no adequate offers.

Luxury phones, segment prospects

Nokia has pioneered the luxury phone segment, setting the bar for quality for this kind of handset. The Nokia subsidiary in the first years of its existence was not successful in terms of sales, the company gained its first experience in the luxury goods market, approached it with different estimates. Having the technology in hand, the ability to work with various materials, the company did not fully understand the specifics of the market for expensive, fashionable devices. But in the process of work, they changed their vision and came to global dominance in this market.On the other hand, if we draw parallels with other markets, such as watches or cars, then Vertu's dominance is imaginary. The company sells the largest number of phones in the 4000 Euro and above segment, but it has no other competitors. Comparing the capacity of the luxury market for the same cars, we will see that the potential for the phone market is huge, this niche is occupied by 10-15 percent at the most, that is, growth is possible at times. An indirect confirmation of this is the activity of "independent" companies that create their own design variations, cases for serial models. The recipe for such models is extremely simple. A production model from Nokia is taken, a different case made of “interesting” materials is put on it, and then it is positioned as a fashionable, expensive offer. This is the way, for example, Mobiado, this Canadian company has gained a lot of followers in recent years. But the volume of production and sales for such companies is microscopic, they do not have a strong brand, recognition in the eyes of buyers is minimal. The presence of sales as such is dictated by the very vacuum in the luxury segment, which everyone who understands this is trying to fill.

Indirect confirmation of the lack of adequate supply in this market niche is the huge number of phones with diamonds. Users try to emphasize their peculiarity by ordering similar delights from jewelers, which, as a rule, look clumsy, change the original design of the phone. By no means an ideal solution, plus such a head-on approach causes rejection among many, it is considered bad taste.

If we consider Vertu phones as the first experience of luxury phones, then other players appeared with a big delay. In 2009, the market will experience the first stage of growth for the first time, when new names appear. In the future, not only Vertu and all the others, but Vertu and other brands will be on the market, competition will begin at a different level.

What experience have you gained at Vertu, and how are these products different from other models? Initially, Vertu phones were as simple as possible in the technical aspect, to some extent a copy of the 8000 series, that is, a minimum of functions, voice-oriented. People bought phones but wanted more features. As a result, devices from Vertu about a year ago began to acquire the latest generation technologies, the Ti smartphone appeared, and in addition to the Concierge service, the company offered services for storing user data (Fortress), content selection (Vertu Select), in a word, it began to develop a service direction. Let's add here the initial creation of exclusive content, melodies, screensavers for phones from Vertu. These devices are well distinguishable by the quality of the call, they can be recognized by ear. For Vertu, the threat of the emergence of other players is minimal, because the company has already made a leap forward.It is extremely difficult and expensive to create such services, to achieve recognition in the market. Beginners will have to build not only and not so much a distribution system as build service centers, focus on the functionality of phones in order to match the models from Vertu. And here another factor can play on their side, namely the popularity of the brand, the loyalty of users to this brand.

First signs - new names in the luxury market

In 2009, several companies enter the luxury phone market at once. One of them is well known to us, it's Motorola. The first product in this segment is MOTOAURA, and others will follow. The price group in which Motorola will play is 2000-4000 Euros. The company does not lay claim to the laurels of Vertu, it is trying to oust modifiers from the market, those who put their cases on original Nokia phones or paint models with rhinestones and diamonds. The strengths of Motorola phones include uncompromising quality of materials, excellent mechanics, plus good software, comparable to modern phone models. This will keep the model up to date for the entire service life, which is maximum for such devices and ranges from 2 to 4 years. But until new announcements, we will not reveal the veil of secrecy over phones from Motorola, we will leave this right to the company. In the meantime, let's move on to non-traditional players in the phone market, namely watch brands. Knowledgeable readers may say that I'm deliberately ignoring phones from Samsung that will perform in the segment of 2000 Euros and above, but this is not so. The example of the Samsung Ego is indicative, it did not become an event on the market, there is no perception of Samsung in the luxury segment. Rather, Samsung belongs to the class of modifiers, the significance of products under its brand for the luxury market is low. Hence the complete silence about the metal slider, a fun toy, but nothing more.

Swiss watch brands have several huge advantages in the eyes of consumers. They are known for quality products, their perception as a manufacturer of luxury goods is maximum. The disadvantages include the lack of expertise in the field of mobile phones. Watch companies cannot work with mobile phone manufacturers. For example, Nokia already has a subsidiary Vertu, they definitely do not want to produce competitors with their own hands, and the volume of production that pays for the development of the phone starts with one million devices. Motorola themselves are hatching such plans. Korean companies would be happy to release such phones, but they have a different approach, there is no price fixing, which looks like the biggest crime in the watch market, this approach destroys the market itself. Therefore, the destiny of Korean companies is to work with relatively massive fashion brands such as Armani, Prada and others. Sony Ericsson remains, but negotiations with it ended in nothing for several players. The manufacturer also plans to enter the market of expensive devices, but wants to do it gradually. Whether it succeeds or not remains an open question, as the company's plans are changing right before our eyes. With a high degree of probability, this will happen in late 2009 - early 2010. Of course, if the next round of the crisis does not confuse all plans, and luxury models are not rescheduled to even later dates.

The instigator was Tag Heuer, about five years ago the company began to explore the possibility of entering the phone market. These studies did not go unnoticed by other watchmakers, but did not lead to any action. Another thing is that about 2 years ago the market received an unambiguous signal - the phone from Tag Heuer is ready and it is being shown to distributors. This gave impetus to a new wave of discussions and even the creation of such an apparatus as the Ulysse Nardin Chairman. From that moment on, we can assume that the market revived, began to develop, and in the future other names will appear on it.

The circuit that came to life for Tag Heuer is very simple. The watch company understands its customers and is trying to create another style element that complements the watch, but it is not. Heredity is manifested in the play on the clock on the top end of the phone, but no direct analogies or replacement of one accessory with another. Separate clock, separate phone. No Napoleonic sales plans, this is an additional accessory with the aesthetics of the company and nothing more. The French company Modelabs acts as a partner in the project, we can say that this is a joint venture. From Tag Heuer's side, the brand, ideas, material and quality control, and distribution have been invested in it. The filling comes from Modelabs, it does not strike the imagination, but there was no task to build a super-phone, an ordinary phone for calls that works for a long time on a single charge. The price range is from 3500 to 30000 Euro, depending on the materials chosen by the buyer.

Does this product have a future? Definitely yes. This is a model that professes exactly the same approaches as when creating watches. Fixed cost throughout the life cycle, simplicity of functions, positioning the phone as an accessory. The company frankly says that they see the device from Tag Heuer as something between glasses and watches, an element of style. This is the second phone for you, a device that shows your personality. But not a business tool. Given that the volume of production of such devices is small, we can talk about 15-20 thousand phones in the first year of sales with a very good demand. One of these days we will publish a big interview about Tag Heuer Meridiist, which will reveal many questions about the positioning of the phone, the history of creation.

It is curious that Modelabs also created a phone for Christian Dior in a similar way. This is also a fashion device, but the price range is more modest. Much more modest, it also exploits the power of the brand, offering an unusual accessory. And this is the main thing in such products - a luxury phone is the last phone, its perception, its positioning as a fashion device is at the forefront.

At BaselWorld'09 Ulysse Nardin, famous for its watches, showed its interpretation of the mobile phone as a luxury product. The design of the device is as similar as possible to a watch, even the head for winding the mechanism and the kinetic mechanism, which allegedly generates energy for the battery. This is a completely contrived technology, as the power consumption of a smartphone is much higher. To charge the battery for a minute of talking, you will have to walk with the phone for about 12-13 hours, which looks a bit excessive. On the other hand, as a feature that connects the Chairman's phone with the watch, this is a successful find.

Unlike the same Tag Heuer Meridiist, this device was made less of a telephone, more of a watch, if you like. The desire was to release a product costing between 7000 and 40000 Euro Kia is not for everyone. The company says that no more than 1846 pieces of each model will be produced. The word “model” in Ulysse Nardin does not mean a product model, as is customary all over the world, but a color solution. For example, a “model” with a gold case will have 1846 pieces, a blue case with 1846 pieces, and so on. A plate with the machine number will be attached to the back side. Therefore, when you buy blue and gold phones, you can see that their numbers are identical, this is the approach of the company, which considers different colors as different offers. On the site www.unchairman.com you can already see about a dozen different colors. The device will appear on sale in autumn, it will be sold in stores where watches of the same brand are presented.

The problem with the service is noted in the press release, in particular, it says that a very high level of service, typical for Ulysse Nardin, will be provided. Translated into the language of ordinary phrases, I can note that this means sending a broken apparatus to Switzerland, where it will be repaired for some time. Considering how many models of my Swiss watches have been repaired in a similar way, I don’t see any big pluses in this. For such, in fact, manufacturing industries, service turns into a very weak point. On the other hand, we all believe in the best and that our phone or watch will never break.

Technically, the Ulysse Nardin Chairman is interesting in that it is a Windows Mobile smartphone (presumably so, there is no evidence to the contrary yet), with a 2.8-inch touch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, a fingerprint scanner that provides access to the contents of the phone's memory . The stuffing of this device is not yet ready, it has not been shown to anyone except for future distributors.In fact, we are talking about some kind of dummy, and what's inside - one can only guess. One thing is for sure: of the new generation of relatively mass-produced luxury phones, this one will be the smallest and the most expensive. First of all, the device is intended for fans of the brand Ulysse Nardin. And the last thing I would like to note about this device. It does not have a clock, only screen savers with company symbols and a clock face.

Summarizing the above, we can boldly say that in 2009 the market will see the birth of such a phenomenon as telephone manufactories. These are manufacturers who will use well-known brands and release their phones under them. Of course, in small print runs, and the cost of devices will range from 2 to 60 thousand Euros. Vertu's market share will fall, but not due to a weakening of positions, but, on the contrary, due to the explosive growth of a segment that has been greatly underestimated until now and in which there were no adequate offers.

Luxury phones, segment prospects

Nokia has pioneered the luxury phone segment, setting the bar for quality for this kind of handset. The Nokia subsidiary in the first years of its existence was not successful in terms of sales, the company gained its first experience in the luxury goods market, approached it with different estimates. Having the technology in hand, the ability to work with various materials, the company did not fully understand the specifics of the market for expensive, fashionable devices. But in the process of work, they changed their vision and came to global dominance in this market.On the other hand, if we draw parallels with other markets, such as watches or cars, then Vertu's dominance is imaginary. The company sells the largest number of phones in the 4000 Euro and above segment, but it has no other competitors. Comparing the capacity of the luxury market for the same cars, we will see that the potential for the phone market is huge, this niche is occupied by 10-15 percent at the most, that is, growth is possible at times. An indirect confirmation of this is the activity of "independent" companies that create their own design variations, cases for serial models. The recipe for such models is extremely simple. A production model from Nokia is taken, a different case made of “interesting” materials is put on it, and then it is positioned as a fashionable, expensive offer. This is the way, for example, Mobiado, this Canadian company has gained a lot of followers in recent years. But the volume of production and sales for such companies is microscopic, they do not have a strong brand, recognition in the eyes of buyers is minimal. The presence of sales as such is dictated by the very vacuum in the luxury segment, which everyone who understands this is trying to fill.

Indirect confirmation of the lack of adequate supply in this market niche is the huge number of phones with diamonds. Users try to emphasize their peculiarity by ordering similar delights from jewelers, which, as a rule, look clumsy, change the original design of the phone. By no means an ideal solution, plus such a head-on approach causes rejection among many, it is considered bad taste.

If we consider Vertu phones as the first experience of luxury phones, then other players appeared with a big delay. In 2009, the market will experience the first stage of growth for the first time, when new names appear. In the future, not only Vertu and all the others, but Vertu and other brands will be on the market, competition will begin at a different level.

What experience have you gained at Vertu, and how are these products different from other models? Initially, Vertu phones were as simple as possible in the technical aspect, to some extent a copy of the 8000 series, that is, a minimum of functions, voice-oriented. People bought phones but wanted more features. As a result, devices from Vertu about a year ago began to acquire the latest generation technologies, the Ti smartphone appeared, and in addition to the Concierge service, the company offered services for storing user data (Fortress), content selection (Vertu Select), in a word, it began to develop a service direction. Let's add here the initial creation of exclusive content, melodies, screensavers for phones from Vertu. These devices are well distinguishable by the quality of the call, they can be recognized by ear. For Vertu, the threat of the emergence of other players is minimal, because the company has already made a leap forward.It is extremely difficult and expensive to create such services, to achieve recognition in the market. Beginners will have to build not only and not so much a distribution system as build service centers, focus on the functionality of phones in order to match the models from Vertu. And here another factor can play on their side, namely the popularity of the brand, the loyalty of users to this brand.

First signs - new names in the luxury market

In 2009, several companies enter the luxury phone market at once. One of them is well known to us, it's Motorola. MOTOAURA is the first product in this segment and others will follow. The price group in which Motorola will play is 2000-4000 Euros. The company does not lay claim to the laurels of Vertu, it is trying to oust modifiers from the market, those who put their cases on original Nokia phones or paint models with rhinestones and diamonds. The strengths of Motorola phones include uncompromising quality of materials, excellent mechanics, plus good software, comparable to modern phone models. This will keep the model up to date for the entire service life, which is maximum for such devices and ranges from 2 to 4 years. But until new announcements, we will not reveal the veil of secrecy over phones from Motorola, we will leave this right to the company. For now, let's move on to non-traditional players in the phone market, namely watch brands. Knowledgeable readers may say that I'm deliberately ignoring phones from Samsung that will perform in the segment of 2000 Euros and above, but this is not so. The example of the Samsung Ego is indicative, it did not become an event on the market, there is no perception of Samsung in the luxury segment. Rather, Samsung belongs to the class of modifiers, the significance of products under its brand for the luxury market is low. Hence the complete silence about the metal slider, a fun toy, but nothing more.

Swiss watch brands have several huge advantages in the eyes of consumers. They are known for quality products, their perception as a manufacturer of luxury goods is maximum. The disadvantages include the lack of expertise in the field of mobile phones. Watch companies cannot work with mobile phone manufacturers. For example, Nokia already has a subsidiary Vertu, they definitely do not want to produce competitors with their own hands, and the volume of production that pays for the development of the phone starts with one million devices. Motorola themselves are hatching such plans. Korean companies would be happy to release such phones, but they have a different approach, there is no price fixing, which looks like the biggest crime in the watch market, this approach destroys the market itself. Therefore, the destiny of Korean companies is to work with relatively massive fashion brands such as Armani, Prada and others. Sony Ericsson remains, but negotiations with it ended in nothing for several players. The manufacturer also plans to enter the market of expensive devices, but wants to do it gradually. Whether it succeeds or not remains an open question, as the company's plans are changing right before our eyes. With a high degree of probability, this will happen in late 2009 - early 2010. Of course, if the next round of the crisis does not confuse all plans, and luxury models are not rescheduled to even later dates.

The instigator was Tag Heuer, about five years ago the company began to explore the possibility of entering the phone market. These studies did not go unnoticed by other watchmakers, but did not lead to any action. Another thing is that about 2 years ago the market received an unambiguous signal - the phone from Tag Heuer is ready and it is being shown to distributors. This gave impetus to a new wave of discussions and even the creation of such an apparatus as the Ulysse Nardin Chairman. From that moment on, we can assume that the market revived, began to develop, and in the future other names will appear on it.

The circuit that came to life for Tag Heuer is very simple. The watch company understands its customers and is trying to create another style element that complements the watch, but it is not. Heredity is manifested in the play on the clock on the top end of the phone, but no direct analogies or replacement of one accessory with another. Separate clock, separate phone. No Napoleonic sales plans, this is an additional accessory with the aesthetics of the company and nothing more. The French company Modelabs acts as a partner in the project, we can say that this is a joint venture. From Tag Heuer's side, the brand, ideas, material and quality control, and distribution have been invested in it. The filling comes from Modelabs, it does not strike the imagination, but there was no task to build a super-phone, an ordinary phone for calls that works for a long time on a single charge. The price range is from 3500 to 30000 Euro, depending on the materials chosen by the buyer.

Does this product have a future? Definitely yes. This is a model that professes exactly the same approaches as when creating watches. Fixed cost throughout the life cycle, simplicity of functions, positioning the phone as an accessory. The company frankly says that they see the device from Tag Heuer as something between glasses and watches, an element of style. This is the second phone for you, a device that shows your personality. But not a business tool. Given that the volume of production of such devices is small, we can talk about 15-20 thousand phones in the first year of sales with a very good demand. One of these days we will publish a big interview about Tag Heuer Meridiist, which will reveal many questions about the positioning of the phone, the history of creation.

It is curious that Modelabs also created a phone for Christian Dior in a similar way. This is also a fashion device, but the price range is more modest. Much more modest, it also exploits the power of the brand, offering an unusual accessory. And this is the main thing in such products - a luxury phone is the last thing a phone, its perception, its positioning as a fashion device is at the forefront.

At BaselWorld'09 Ulysse Nardin, famous for its watches, showed its interpretation of the mobile phone as a luxury product. The design of the device is as similar as possible to a watch, even the head for winding the mechanism and the kinetic mechanism, which allegedly generates energy for the battery. This is a completely contrived technology, as the power consumption of a smartphone is much higher. To charge the battery for a minute of talking, you will have to walk with the phone for about 12-13 hours, which looks a bit excessive. On the other hand, as a feature that connects the Chairman's phone with the watch, this is a successful find.

Unlike the same Tag Heuer Meridiist, this device was made less of a telephone, more of a watch, if you like. The desire was to release a product costing from 7000 to 40000 Euro Kia is not for everyone. The company says that no more than 1846 pieces of each model will be produced. The word “model” in Ulysse Nardin does not mean a product model, as is customary all over the world, but a color solution. For example, a “model” with a gold case will have 1846 pieces, a blue case with 1846 pieces, and so on. A plate with the machine number will be attached to the back side. Therefore, when you buy blue and gold phones, you can see that their numbers are identical, this is the approach of the company, which considers different colors as different offers. On the site www.unchairman.com you can already see about a dozen different colors. The device will appear on sale in autumn, it will be sold in stores where watches of the same brand are presented.

Unlike the same Tag Heuer Meridiist, this device was made less of a telephone, more of a watch, if you like. The desire was to release a product costing from 7000 to 40000 Euros Kia Kia not for all. The company says that no more than 1846 pieces of each model will be produced. The word “model” in Ulysse Nardin does not mean a product model, as is customary all over the world, but a color solution. For example, a “model” with a gold case will have 1846 pieces, a blue case with 1846 pieces, and so on. A plate with the machine number will be attached to the back side. Therefore, when you buy blue and gold phones, you can see that their numbers are identical, this is the approach of the company, which considers different colors as different offers. On the site www.unchairman.com you can already see about a dozen different colors. The device will be available for sale in autumn, it will be sold in stores where watches of the same brand are presented.

The problem with the service is noted in the press release, in particular, it says that a very high level of service, typical for Ulysse Nardin, will be provided. Translated into the language of ordinary phrases, I can note that this means sending a broken apparatus to Switzerland, where it will be repaired for some time. Considering how many models of my Swiss watches have been repaired in a similar way, I don’t see any big pluses in this. For such, in fact, manufacturing industries, service turns into a very weak point. On the other hand, we all believe in the best and that our phone or watch will never break.

Technically, the Ulysse Nardin Chairman is interesting in that it is a Windows Mobile smartphone (presumably so, there is no evidence to the contrary yet), with a 2.8-inch touch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, a fingerprint scanner that provides access to the contents of the phone's memory . The stuffing of this device is not yet ready, it has not been shown to anyone except for future distributors. In fact, we are talking about some kind of dummy, and what's inside - one can only guess. One thing is for sure: of the new generation of relatively mass-produced luxury phones, this one will be the smallest and the most expensive. First of all, the device is intended for fans of the brand Ulysse Nardin. And the last thing I would like to note about this device. It does not have a clock, only screen savers with company symbols and a clock face.

Summarizing the above, we can boldly say that in 2009 the market will see the birth of such a phenomenon as telephone manufactories. These are manufacturers who will use well-known brands and release their phones under them. Of course, in small print runs, and the cost of devices will range from 2 to 60 thousand Euros. Vertu's market share will fall, but not due to a weakening of positions, but, on the contrary, due to the explosive growth of a segment that has been greatly underestimated until now and in which there were no adequate offers.