Nokia is enjoying increasing success with its Vertu subsidiary, a maker of luxury cellphones, as a super expensive phone becomes a status symbol for the mega-rich. Der Spiegel reports that Vertu phones, which come diamond- or gold-encrusted, make the iPhone look absolutely pedestrian with a price range from $6,500 to $72,500. Sales of the deluxe handsets are up 120% this year.
That’s on top of a 140% rise last year based on sales growth in Russia, China, and the Middle East, as emerging market moguls embrace the high life. And developing countries are not alone: 2007 sales in the US are up 200%. "From what we've seen, the creation of a multibillion-dollar market in luxury phones over the next few years is very possible," says Vertu's president.