Clothes make the man and anyone saying different is trying to excuse their stained T-shirt. They’re the most customisable part of your appearance, the most variable, and the most important (because you won’t be arrested for leaving the house without a haircut.) They’re also the only part of your body image you can stick into a machine for cleaning without serious medical repercussions. But now the mobile phone tells people even more. It’s how you interact with the entire world beyond visual range (a slightly larger region), and your ringtone alone can tell everyone you meet whether you’re an idiot or not. And thanks to cameraphones the world is now stuffed with more cameras than a fashion shoot in 1984.
So, if someone wears stylish jewelery you know they care about their appearance. When they wear expensive jewellery, you know they’re rich. When it’s expensive but also hideously ugly you know they’re a rich idiot, and by the time they’re gluing thousands of dollars of precious stones to their mobile phone you’ve either already left or are drafting up a great business opportunity which just needs a small investment in unmarked notes.
Unfortunately, even selling the Brooklyn Bridge wouldn’t solve Nokia’s current financial woes, which is why it’s offering the ludicrously luxurious Vertu brand for sale. And people are prepared to buy it. Which begs the question “How can Nokia be losing money in a world where buyers are so stupid?” Vertu are known for selling phones with more ridiculous ostentation than a Pharoah’s tomb but with about the same level of wireless technology. Vertu phones feature diamonds as standard, but many can only access the internet is if you use them to press buttons on a giant golden computer. These are connection devices wrapped in more insanity than the cube from the Hellraiser films, and they cost more to make.
The sale fits with Nokia’s current strategy of dropping “non-core” assets, because Vertu is about as essential and relevant than an X-Factor runner-up’s appendix. The sale is expected to fetch about £160m. But that’s less than pocket change for the phone company. Maybe it’s trying to raise good karma by ditching this insult to intelligence. Either that, or the buyers convinced Nokia it had a greater need for detecting idiots with a worse IQ-to-riches ratio than bacteria on a gold bar. Which, when you think about it, is a very useful way to find easy money. Maybe Nokia should have kept it. And hired some boys with an unmarked van.