Smartphone prices have crept up over the past few years, so it’s not unusual to see phones that sell for $1,000 and up. Some models with features like foldable displays may even cost twice as much. But you usually get some pretty stellar features for phones in that price range.
And then there’s the luxury phone market. Rather than premium specs, what you tend to get are premium craftsmanship and materials (like leather and/or titanium), plus premium perks like members-only concierge service.
For a number of years, Vertu was one of the big players in the luxury phone space. And I mean that mostly in terms of mindshare – I have no idea how many overpriced phones the company actually managed to sell before it went out of business in 2017. But with a high markup and phones that sold for thousands of dollars, Vertu probably didn’t need to sell too many phones to make a buck.
Anyway, Vertu is gone now… but out of the ashes a group of former employees have launched a new company called Xor. Its first phone is called the Xor Titanium, and it’s coming in 2021. It makes phone calls, sends texts messages, supports AES 256 end-to-end encryption (if you’re calling another Xor Titanium user), and… that’s all it does.
The phone will cost nearly $4,000.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Former Vertu employees are launching a new luxury smartphone [Engadget]
Three years after luxury phone maker Vertu went out of business, now a group of former employees has launched a new company called Xor. Their first phone is coming in 2021… a $4K candybar-style phone with a custom Linux OS.
- Spotify acquired Megaphone [Spotify]
Spotify’s podcast business acquisition streak continues. This time the streaming audio service is acquiring Megaphone for $235. The platform is a podcast hosting, advertising, and analytics service. Spotify also owns Gimlet, Anchor, The Ringer and Parcast.
- Update: This laptop does NOT pack a desktop AMD Ryzen 5000 processor (yet) [Liliputing]
The Origin PC NS-15 is a high-performance (and low battery life) laptop that supports AMD Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors. Earlier this week the company added configuration options for AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 desktop chips, but it has since removed those options and another PC maker using the same OEM design says at the very least a BIOS updated will be needed before the laptop can support Ryzen 5000 processors. A new motherboard may be required.
- Huawei to sell smartphone unit for $15 billion [Reuters]
Huawei may be planning to sell its budget/mid-range Honor brand to a group led y the government of Shenzhen and a phone distributor called Digital China for $15 billion.
- Update on Nitrux OS Maui Project for convergent apps [Nitrux]
The latest update on this suite of Linux apps designed to run on multiple platforms with different screen sizes, including laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphones.
- JumpDrive OS flashing tool now supports PineTab and 3GB PinePhone [LinuxSmartphones]
It’s easy to try out different operating systems on a PinePhone or PineTab since they can both boot from microSD cards. But if you want to install an OS to built-in storage, JumpDrive provides one of the simplest ways to do that… and now it supports the 3GB/32GB version of the PinePhone as well as the previously-supported 2GB/16GB version. PineTabs should also now be supported.
A new report from the Maui Project is out. This is the last report before our second stable release is announced.
— Maui Project (@maui_project) November 9, 2020