There seems to be no end to the oodles of jewels and layers of gold being slapped onto deluxe tech these days. In part 1 of a Crave series on ultimate luxury, we have a look at phones and tablets Liberace would have loved.
$54,000 to call and text
Let's face it: Ordinary gadgets are ephemeral. Your smartphone may be new today, but it'll be obsolete tomorrow. Is it really worth hundreds of dollars?
How about thousands? Or tens of thousands? Yes, you can add diamonds and gold to your tech toys and embrace that fleeting usefulness with a sense of glamor and devil-may-care about the future or your finances. If you can afford them, makers of glam gadgets will put stunning wealth in the palm of your hand.
For instance, for the price of a luxury car, the Aesir AE + Y will let everyone know just how much you don't cling to money.
This bare-bones offering from Danish company Aesir has solid-gold keys, a sapphire crystal screen, and a wraparound high-gloss ceramic body. Price tag: $54,000. But don't expect to take any photos, browse the Web, or check your position with GPS, because it can't do any of that.
At least no one can use it to snap incriminating photos at millionaires' parties. There's a declasse stainless-steel version for only $9,400.
Fancy some black alligator in your back pocket? This $12,800 version of the Vertu Ti is a midrange option from the bespoke maker, formerly part of Nokia.
Handmade in England and running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Ti is a heavy chunk of glam housed in sturdy titanium; features include a Concierge service, a helper on speed-dial for booking tickets, accommodation, or other jobs.
While it may be five times more durable than other mobiles, the Ti is 10 times more expensive.
The Cruiser Titanium White from Russian glam-electronics maker Gresso isn't much of a luxury bargain, but what is? For $3,000 you get a solid titanium case, pear-like stainless steel buttons, and a Symbian S40 operating system.
You might feel better knowing it's limited to 999 units. Or you could take inspiration from its fanciful ad copy, which suggests it's for women: "Feminine handset of Cruiser collection is highlighted by pearl white color. The perfect ensemble of glossy mirror surface and pure snow-white color adds the phone a romantic and delicate touch."
Jackpot! You must have gotten very lucky in Vegas if you can afford this ridiculously opulent handset from Gresso. Priced at a very cool $1 million, the Luxor Las Vegas Jackpot is an ode to excess: a case made of 180 grams of 18-karat gold, and adorned with rare black diamonds and 200-year-old African blackwood on the back panel. Its laser-engraved keys are fashioned from crystal sapphires.
As far as design goes, the gold-brown motif on the case recalls the roulette wheels of Sin City, the capital city of excess itself.
Next time you check in at Dubai's jaw-dropping Burj Al Arab, you'll find a gold-plated iPad waiting in your suite. They don't boast diamonds (yawn), but the 24-karat tablets are engraved with the property's logo on the back.
Produced by Gold & Co. London, the iPads are on sale in the hotel's boutique. Should you wish one, they're a cool $10,200.
Your iPad Mini doesn't want to look generic. It needs this $700,000 case splashed with natural sapphires and diamonds.
The National Sapphire Company's case has an18K high-polished white gold body set with 3,328 natural Ceylon blue sapphires. The Apple logo is set with 50 round diamonds weighing a total of 5 carats.
"Don't be just another drone on your hour-long commute fitting snuggly in with the steel gray of our technological society," the company said in a blog post. "Be different, be unique... be conspicuously and resplendently beautiful!!!"
If you love tech bling, you can't overlook Gold & Co. London's shimmering wares. The company applies multiple layers of gold plating to popular Apple and BlackBerry products, like this BlackBerry P9981 Porsche Design.
Gold & Co. uses T304 aircraft-grade stainless steel for its housings, which are plated with 24-karat gold. Each is then numbered and shipped in a hardwood box.