Vertu, the UK-based company that’s been making hand crafted, highly expensive mobile phones for 15 years, is going to be using technology provided by a familiar business in its next Android devices. Vertu has announced it has reached an agreement with TCL Communication to use its tech inside Vertu’s next 30,000 phones.
China-based TCL has been designing and manufacturing smartphones for companies such as Alcatel and, more recently, BlackBerry, including its new KEYone phone. Vertu’s phones will continue to be hand made at its UK factory, which is located in Church Crookham, Hampshire. The company added the deal with TCL is worth $40 million. The specific details of the technology that TCL will provide for Vertu’s phones were not revealed.
This new partnership is the first to be announced by Vertu since the company was acquired in March by entrepreneur Hakan Uzan, a member of the wealthy, and also rather controversial, Turkish family. At that time, Uzan bought Vertu for £50 million (about $63 million). In today’s press release, Vertu says that under his leadership, it has been busy restructuring its business units to help it become a “powerful global brand”. The company will start selling new, special edition Constellation X smartphones sometime in mid-July.
It will be interested to see if Vertu can actually make money with these deals and changes that are being made by its new leader. Its last financial report, which was filed publicly in 2014, showed it lost a whopping £53 million. Today’s press release stated its new phones will have a starting price of £7,500 (about $9,500). Hopefully this new TCL agreement will see higher end hardware specs in those phones, which have been criticized in the past of being well behind those inside most consumer devices.