Luxury smartphones begin adopting Android

Over the weekend, Ferrari opened its own Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi—yes, that’s right, a Ferrari theme park—and as part of the celebration took the wraps off a new Android-based smartphone from Acer, the Liquid E Ferrari Special Edition that features Ferrari branding and pre-loaded content—and will have production limited to 200,000 unit, making it what Acer claims to be the “world’s most exclusive smartphone.”

Although Acer teased the phone ealier this year, the Acer Liquid E Ferrari Special Edition sports a 3.5-inch 800 by 480-pixel capacitive touch screen, a five megapixel camera with autofocus, assisted GPS, microSD removable storage (supporting up to 16 GB cards), a 768 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8250 processor and 512 MB of memory. The phone runs Android 2.1 “Eclair”—no word on when or if the phone might pick up future versions of Android—but the device is emblazoned with the Ferrari Scuderia logo and comes with a unique Ferrari-branded Bluetooth headset with noise cancellation. The phone has built-in Wi-Fi and support for HSDPA mobile broadband supporting up to 7.2 Mbps—plus a boatload of pre-loaded Ferrari images and content designed to delight fans. Unfortunately, Acer hasn’t unveiled definitive pricing for the phone—we strongly suspect that if customers have to ask, they aren’t in the target market.

While Acer is claiming to be offering the world’s “most exclusive smartphone,” fashion giant Giorgio Armani is also getting into the Android game, teaming up with Samsung to offer a version of the Galaxy S smartphone very much along the lines of the Samsung Captivate currently available from AT&T. The phone features a 4-inch AMOLED display and 16 GB of onboard memory and will be available from mobile retailers in around Europe as well as Dubai and China in December for about €700. While €700 seems like a high price, it’s actually right in line with Armani’s previous phone offerings: Samsung and Armani’s most recent QWERTY-equipped slider running Windows Mobile also carried a €700 price tag.

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