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Vertu introduces £7,000 Android handset

Bespoke handset manufacturer Vertu has launched its first Android device.

The Vertu Ti costs an eye-watering £6,700 and is made by hand at the firm's headquarters in Church Crookham, Hampshire.

As you would expect given the exorbitant price tag, the Ti boasts some rather exclusive design features, including a titanium frame with leather overlays and an ultra-robust sapphire-coated 3.7in HD display that is "to glass what steel is to blancmange."

Elsewhere, the Ti packs a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 64GB of on-board storage, and an 8-megapixel camera - decent enough specifications, if hardly jaw-dropping. It runs the increasingly geriatric Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and lacks 4G LTE support, but Vertu claims that technology is only part of the equation.

"Vertu will never be at the bleeding edge of technology. It has to be about relevant technology and craftsmanship – it's not a disposable product," Vertu designer Hutch Hutchison told the BBC.

In addition to its ritzy design, another bit of je ne said quoi offered by the Ti is the ruby 'Vertu Key' - the successor to the Concierge button found on previous Vertu devices - which connects the smartphone user to a global support team to assist with things like local advice and bookings. The Ti also features "symphonic sound" tuned in partnership with iconic Danish audio firm Bang & Olufsen

Despite operating in a niche market, Vertu says that sales of its devices have increased in nine out of the last 10 years.

Prior to production of its latest handset, Vertu made phones based on Nokia's recently retired Symbian platform. The UK firm was a subsidiary of the Finnish smartphone manufacturer until 2012, when it was off-loaded to a private equity group.

High-rollers looking to slide the Vertu Ti into their (presumably designer) pocket can purchase the handset online, or make for one of 500 exclusive retail outlets stocking the voguish devices.