Would you buy a smartphone for the price of a brand new Toyota? Not many people would, but the maker of a new luxury smartphone claims there is a market for such phones. Aimed at high powered business people, Solarin is a luxe phone launched for consumers who highly value their privacy and security. At a whopping cost of $17,000 – which makes it one of the world’s most expensive phones – Solarin’s military-grade security obviously doesn’t come cheap.
Solarin is a 5.5-inch android smartphone designed by Sirin Labs, a luxury phone manufacturer that was co-founded in 2013 by Israeli entrepreneurs Tal Cohen, Kenges Rakishev and Moshe Hogeg, who’s known for founding startups Mobli and Yo, as well as investment firm Singulariteam.
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“We do not accept that price drives what’s available in technology,” Hogeg said in a statement. “With Solarin, we break the rules.” Indeed, Solarin phone would otherwise get you 28 new iPhones.
“Cyber-attacks are endemic across the globe”
The phone’s target market includes financiers and executives who value – and are willing to pay for – a very secure technology.
According to Sirin Labs, the Solarin smartphone delivers supreme protection against cyber-attacks thanks to the startup’s partnerships with security firms Koolspan and Zimperium, which employ the same technologies that security forces and armies around the world use to protect their communications. This technology thwarts the most advanced device, network, and mobile cyber-attacks, without compromising the functionality of the rest of the phone, Sirin claims.
But is cyber-security important enough to merit such an incredibly expensive phone? “Cyber-attacks are endemic across the globe. This trend is on the increase. Just one attack can severely harm reputations and finances,” Cohen said in a statement. “Cost doesn’t influence our decision making; optimal functionality and quality do.”
The idea for Solarin originated when Rakishev experienced a mobile phone hack. As a businessman with substantial sensitive information stored on his phone, he was disturbed by the apparent lack of security in mobile technology and the absence of better options on the market. He reached out to Hogeg to share his predicament and later they formed Sirin Labs, along with Cohen.
A luxury phone for the über-wealthy
There has already been some demand for ultra-expensive phones; Vertu, starting at $9,500, also targets all of its devices to the über-rich and prides itself on supreme design. The company has sold some 400,000 phones since 2002.
Could Solarin surpass that? If Sirin Labs – which has already received $97 million in financing from private investors, including Hogeg himself – will indeed provide high-performance, supreme connectivity, security and speed (4.6Gbps), it might be able to carve out a substantial niche for its pricey smartphone.
But prepare for major heartache if your $17,000 smartphone is stolen!
Photos and video: Sirin Labs