Top fashion houses and design firms have been quick to spot the opportunity in the ubiquitous cellphone. With hot new handsets—read the iPhone and Google G1 Android phone—selling in their millions it is hardly surprising that designer labels have been eager to claim a slice of the billion-dollar pie.
Last Christmas saw high-profile names such as Armani, Prada, Anna Sui and Jasper Morrison wrapped around hardware by Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson. This year, big name designer mobile launches include the sequel to the smash hit LG Prada, the LG Prada II with a Qwerty keyboard, the Samsung Armani Night Effect, the latest Vertu Ferrari phone, and My Dior from Christian Dior.
Top gear: The Vertu Ferrari 2009 edition.
The LG Prada II is probably the best mash-up of design and practicality. The original sold in the thousands and it excelled in both form and function. The Prada II doesn’t do anything drastically different except add a full Qwerty keyboard for those Twitter messages and email updates. The phone will retail for around Rs40,000.
Like the old Samsung Armani phone, the new Night Effect has already set tech blogs ablaze—many have questioned the need for the huge Armani logo on the back. The candy bar-shaped phone features an eye-catching strip of light around its edge inspired by the neon lights of Tokyo. The handset comes preloaded with special Emporio Armani compositions and a fabric Armani package case. No price has been announced so far, but judging by the old model, you can expect it to touch €300 (around Rs19,000) and up.
As with previous versions, the Vertu Ferrari limited edition phones for 2009 will feature leather and stitching seen in the latest Ferrari cars, a titanium body and sapphire crystal screen. But for auto buffs, the highlight will be the tones based on recordings of the engines in the Ferrari F430 and 612 Scaglietti models. Phones start from €7,100 and are currently available at Vertu dealers across India.
Topping the list for the most outrageous design, however, is the My Dior phone from French design house Christian Dior. The super-thin “basic” version for $5,000 (around Rs2.5 lakh) has a hand-brushed stainless steel case, sapphire crystal and electro-luminiscent keypad. A deluxe version with added bling (approximately 640 Swarovski pieces) clocks in at $26,000.