NYT's Pogue Loves the B&O Serene Cellphone

You'd think the NYT's practical David Pogue would rip apart a $1275 dollar cellphone from the typically overhyped and under delivered B&O. But he loves it, even going so far as to say this:

...the world craves a phone that conveys, like Apple's iPod, a feeling of beauty, elegance and instantaneous mastery.This week, a cellphone matching that description has finally arrived — but it's not from Apple. Its design comes from Bang & Olufsen, maker of expensive, hyper-stylish stereos and cordless phones.

David, what's with your headline? ("The Cellphone Costs $1,275. In Love Yet?") Since when do we love anything that costs too much for a feature that should be accessible to the common people: good design.

What else do you get for this kind of money? A cellie that looks like a make-up compact, with a reversed screen and keypad, a scroll wheel almost identical in function to that on the iPod, and Samsung guts. And sound quality by voice and ringtone on par with audiophile headphones. Good. But, so far, Pogue hasn't sold me.

Then David tells us that the clamshell is motorized. Unnecessary mechanical augmentation? I am fucking getting one now. [let me repeat: This is pretty damn cool. No sarcasm here.]

Then, there's the scrollwheel...

which happens to function almost exactly like the pod's. The address book, where you'd expect to find it most useful, requires you to pick your letter before you can use it there, though.

Before we can accuse him of being seduced by the black beauty, David reels himself in:

It's not an Apple phone, but in many ways, Bang & Olufsen seems to have embraced some very iPoddish design goals: unconventional materials; a focus on simplicity, elegance and pleasure; and a pure, minimalist, convention-shaking design.

For its classiness, striking design and sound quality, the Serene would fly off the shelves at $500 or even $600. But holy cow: $1,275? Could it possibly be worth that kind of money?

Only if you're wealthy, a connoisseur of fine design and skeptical that any real Apple phone is in the works.

Long has the iPod been the benchmark that other MP3 players have been compared to. Now the iPhone is getting the same treatment, before we've even seen one.

The Cellphone Costs $1,275. In Love Yet? [NYT]