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TAG Heuer joins rush to brand phone handsets

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TAG Heuer, Swiss maker of fashion watches, has signed an agreement with French design house Modelabs to create TAG phones for those who need a logo to talk to.

As the feature-set of the modern mobile handset becomes increasingly commoditised it's natural for brand endorsement to follow: manufacturers not competing on features switch to competing on style, and must either try and establish their own brand in that field, or buy one in.

Samsung may well be respected for their technical prowess, but most would recognise that Armani have the edge when it comes to style. Armani's phone is manufactured by Samsung, ideally creating a perfect partnership of style and capability (though arguably LG Electronics and Prada have achieved more).

Some brands, such as Speedo, exist as nothing more than an endorsement of products to which they lend their logo. The buyer trusts the brand to ensure the product is of suitable quality and desirability, regardless of who actually makes it.

It's easy to dismiss branded products as old ideas with new logos stuck on them, but regardless of the stylistic input TAG Heuer has on their branded handsets they are still endorsing the product, and betting their logo on it.

It will be bought by the same people who buy TAG Heuer glasses and watches. We, who own equally-priced-and-technically-superior handsets, will look down on them for having more money than sense, and they will, in turn, look down on us for having such little style. ®

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