Smartphones with the WOW! Effect: Most fashionable designer phones survey

It is no longer enough to have a smartphone that can allow you to access the Internet, listen to music, and download a variety of applications while still being able to call and text. Style is another important consideration. There is a certain pleasure in putting your phone on the table and generating a “Wow!” from your friends, family, and colleagues.

So, in a bid to differentiate itself from their rivals, mobile phone manufacturers have teamed up with exclusive design houses to create new mobile phones, each more exclusive than the last. These new smartphones maintain the general characteristics of the original phone, but are made with higher-quality materials such as leather and steel. Likewise, the exterior design is enhanced, adding luxury and style.

Some of the couples that have resulted from this effort include the following: Motorola and Ferrari, Samsung and Armani, Samsung and Hugo Boss, Blackberry and Porsche, and LG and Prada.

Samsung teamed up with Armani in 2008 to create the super-slim, super-stylish Giorgio Armani Samsung SGH-P520. The company is continuing its designer collaborations now by working with Hugo Boss on the Samsung S5830 Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss. This revamped Galaxy Ace has a price tag of around £200, and boasts an upscale redesign of the exterior, as well as some exclusive Hugo Boss online content.

In Brazil, phone manufacturer Motorola and telecoms provider Nextel have recently teamed up with Ferrari to deliver the Motorola i897 Ferrari Black. Costing about £275, this phone is sleek and stylish, and contains exclusive Ferrari content and games. The target audience here appears to be younger men.

LG and Prada united for the third time to create the Prada Phone by LG 3.0, a stunning phone with a 4.3-inch screen, a sleek and minimalist design, and a £430 price tag.

Another recent collaboration created the Blackberry Porsche Design P’9981, a luxurious and modern phone based on the Bold 9900 model. This model is sophisticated, featuring a stainless steel case with leather accents on the back, as well as a redesigned keyboard. At a cost of approximately £1200, this phone is not cheap, but the “Wow!” effect seems guaranteed.

The collaboration benefits both the phone manufacturer and the luxury brand. The luxury brand expands its presence in the market, and may attract more customers — after all, not everyone can afford an entire wardrobe from Prada or a new Ferrari, but a phone, even if it is more expensive than the standard model, can be an affordable luxury. And, by being associated with the luxury brand, the phone manufacturer increases its status and the perception of its quality.

Perhaps future designer collaborations will extend to other forms of technology, including computers, printers, or cameras.

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