Motorola releases its most expensive phone handset

Motorola is launching its most expensive handset in a bid to break into the premium phone market. The Motorola Aura, which goes on sale at the end of November, will cost $2,000 (£1,174).

It will be the first mobile phone to have a round screen, made from 62-carat sapphire crystal. The keypad, which rotates from inside the screen, is made from stainless steel.

The launch will be supported by a major pan-European advertising campaign, and will run in magazines such as Vogue and Tatler.

The company says it is targeting the luxury sector because it is “the last area to be hit by a recession” and “transcends age”.

Last month, the company revealed it is launching the Moto Jewel – a handset aimed at women (MW September 25) – in November. The handset is a flip-top phone shaped like a jewel. The phone will initially be available through an exclusive contract with Carphone Warehouse and will also be backed by a major ad campaign.

Industry sources say the new handsets show that the company is seeking to break into new segments of the market, such as fashion and luxury, in a bid to attract new customers.

The launches will see Motorola move into similar segments to handset maker LG Electronics. In May 2006, it signed Coleen McLaughlin as the face of its chocolate slider phone, backed by an advertising campaign. It also released a diamond phone and this year launched a high-end device with luxury fashion brand Prada.

Motorola is not the first of the lower-end handset makers to enter the luxury market. In 2007, Nokia launched its 8800 Sirocco Gold model – a gold-plated phone worth £1,500.

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