Optical/IP Networks

Paltrow's Massive Wedge

There's a recession on. Money's tight. Maybe this year wasn't the best time to launch a new company dealing exclusively in mega-expensive handsets that cost nearly $24,000.

But that's exactly what Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) did when it formed Vertu in January to design and sell luxury mobile phones. But, I mean, who would be mad enough…?

Say hello to Gwyneth Paltrow! Yes, the A-list actress, who only recently said that British men did not know how to date (ed. note: she doesn't know the half of it), is just one of an undisclosed number to stump up megabucks for a phone that will still end up either down the back of the sofa, left in a cab, or down the cludgey.

My colleague, Mr. Dan Jones, in very poor taste, suggested that Ms. Paltrow would have to keep an eye out on set for Winona Ryder once she had taken delivery of her new gadget. Now, that's not fair, Dan. Winona just forgot she had those items on her when she left the store.

Anyhoo, rumors that Gwynnie had forked out for a top-of-the-range model (platinum, darling) are not true, according to Vertu's Danielle Keighery. "Although we don't talk about individual clients, I can confirm that Gwyneth Paltrow was one of our pre-order customers, but the reports that she spent £15,000 [$23,246] are not true," she says. The phones range in price down to £3,900 ($6,043 -- a snip!), says Keighery, but she refused to reveal whether Paltrow had gone downmarket.

The pre-ordered handsets are being delivered this week (we're waiting for our special delivery box, Danielle!) and the phones will be in shops in September. Don't expect to see them in the corner store.

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung

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