Earlier this month, the ownership of luxury phone brand Vertu changed from the Swedish private equity group EQT VI to a Hong Kong-based consortium led by a hitherto unknown entity called Godin Holdings. According to the Hong Kong companies Registry however, Godin Holdings is actually just a front for a tech company whose name translates to ‘Godin Cyberspace Security Technology’. Further research done by Engadget shows that the company is actually part of a China-based cyber security company called GodinSec. One interesting feature about the tech company that now owns Vertu is that it is apparently even working on its own ‘secure’ mobile operating system, called the ‘GOS’, which is presumably an acronym for Godin Operating System. While there’s no word on whether the OS is based on Android, a job posting from the company back in August for an Android engineer probably hints at that possibility, although to say that at this juncture would be speculative.
Either way, the changeover of ownership gave rise to concerns within the company workers in the UK and admirers of the brand worldwide, as to whether the manufacturing would also shift from the British Isles to Godin’s home base of China. Vertu’s newly-appointed CEO, Mr. Billy Crotty, however, has now clarified that Vertu handsets will continue to be ‘Handmade in England’ in the company’s Hampshire factory. According to him, “The ‘made in England’ was one of the principal reasons why Godin invested in and acquired Vertu. We don’t see or foresee any reason to change that”. The company’s VP of sales and marketing, Mr. Gordon Watson, has apparently even claimed that under Godin, Vertu is looking to expand its UK facilities at Church Crookham in Hampshire, which currently employs a staff of around 450.
Mr. Crotty meanwhile, has also sought to quash any speculations regarding Godin’s probable imposition of its own software on Vertu, saying that the company will continue to use the same Android software as it always has. The Ireland-born CEO has also gone on to say that the company’s focus on using premium materials for its phones will continue to remain as strong as ever, which means the sapphire and titanium bits will continue to adorn Vertu phones in the future as well, along with the exotic leather which has always been a Vertu trademark. He’s also let it be known that the premium services offered by the company, including its concierge service and various personalized offers, will now come under a unified umbrella with the ‘Vertu Club’ branding as part of the company’s strategy of streamlining its existing services.