February 12, 2013 - 09:18 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Luxury smartphone maker Vertu has launched its first Android-operated handset, BBC News reports.
The Vertu Ti costs 7,900 euros and is made at the firm's headquarters in Church Crookham, Hampshire.
The device had a titanium frame and sapphire screen but was not 4G-enabled, said its designer Hutch Hutchison.
Until last year the company was owned by Nokia and specialized in highly priced handsets designed for the Symbian operating system.
Vertu had chosen Android over Windows as an operating system because it was more established, chief executive Perry Oosting told the BBC.
"You need to be part of an ecosystem," he said. "Your device will have to integrate with other devices. I think the Windows phone will have success but it is still a relatively small market share. At the moment it doesn't have the global reach of Android - which is about 60% of the market."
Head of design Hutchison said that Vertu was not interested in being a tech pioneer.
"Vertu will never be at the bleeding edge of technology," he said. "It has to be about relevant technology and craftsmanship - it's not a disposable product."
The firm is also not focused on the mass market, with just 326,000 Vertu smartphone owners worldwide after 10 years in the industry.
"We don't make massive numbers of phones and the price point is reflective of that," said Oosting.
Each device is assembled by hand. The name and signature of the person who assembled the phone is laser inscribed onto the inside lid of the SIM card holder.
Vertu handsets can only be purchased in 500 retail outlets, 70 of which are the company's own boutiques, around the world.
Each device has a "concierge" button that connects the caller with a global team who can provide localized advice and help with events and restaurant bookings.
Weighing 180g (6oz), the Vertu Ti is heavier than most current generation smartphones - the Samsung Galaxy S3 weighs 118g and the iPhone 5 is 112g.