Guest post by Ashni Sharma
An obscure Indian company, Ringing Bell, is all set to revolutionalize the telecommunication industry by introducing the cheapest smartphone in the world. Yes! You can just skip that 4 Big Mac meals in India to buy this smartphone that costs just 4$. Amidst all tiffs of claiming this five months old company which is yet to build its manufacturing plant, has successfully promoted the Digital India campaign throughout the world.
Conferred as Freedom 251, this cheapest smartphone comes with a tagline of “Sapne Sach Hongay”! The official launch on 17 February at a public park by president Ashok Chadda witnessed a huge turnout. This smartphone was put to sale on Thursday morning but no sooner the website crashed marking continuous 600,000 hits per second.
Why Is Freedom 251 So Cheap?
According to International Data Corp. (a research company), more than 100 million smartphones were supplied to retailers in 2015, which is just double to its total population. Such a huge demand forms a good chance for this company to grow at national and international level.
The booking for Freedom 251 was opened on 18 February and will end up on 21 February at 8 pm but according to the company officials, the phone is expected to get delivered by 30th June’2016.
And, as far as the reason to why this smartphone costs so low is concerned, the air has been cleared by its President Mr. Chadha. According to him, they have planned to cut down the price through cost-cutting measures like “economies of scale, exemptions from taxes and duties, inventive marketing strategies, and also by developing an economical ecommerce marketplace”.
Freedom 251’s Take With Digital India Campaign
This never heard before smartphone launch is backed by three major Indian development schemes namely: Make in India, Digital India and Startup India. This is another step moved to push India towards a better tomorrow shouldered by the Information & Technology industry. Freedom 251 is all set to materialize the thought of Prime minister Narendra Modi of lacing every Indian citizen with a smartphone by 2019.
Why Freedom 251 Is Actually Not Free As Speculated
Amid all the controversies and allegations, the Income Tax Department raided the Ringing Bells head office in Noida to scrutinize all the paradigms just two days after its launch. Here take a look at the top 5 controversies that mired Freedom 251.
- If the estimated price of this phone is 60$ (Rs 4114), then how can it cost so low just up to 4$. And no transparency has been maintained to reveal the measures done to minimize/ subsidize this cheapest smartphone.
- It is alleged that the sample shown during the launch is actually a 50$ smartphone sold by a Chinese company Adcom in the Indian market. However, Mr. Chadda tried to sway up all this accusation by saying that the manufactured Freedom 251 will be identical to the specs of this phone but due to the shortage of time, they decided to give away these phones as a prototype.
- The manufacturing of the phone has not yet started but it will soon resume in the newly set up plants at Noida and Uttaranchal. And, the amount spent on its manufacturing will be funded by a promoter associated with some agri-commodities business set up, though the name hasn’t been revealed yet.
- Despite its branding under “Make In India” campaign, the company managed to gain controversy for literally copying the software and app icons exactly to Apple’s iPhone. From Apple Safari icon to the home button on the device, it seems like a cheap copy of an iPhone.
- Interestingly, this much-hyped smartphone is claimed to be unsafe for use by Bureau of Indian Standards.
It seems like the whitener on the phone’s logo presumably received more hype & attention when compared to the Pay Now button on the portal of Freedom 251 website.
Amid all these allegations and accolades, this clan of Goel’s is expecting to get hold of 30% of the total Indian smartphone market by the end of this year. Let’s see who wins the race- comments or commitments in context of Freedom 251.
The post has been penned by Ashni Sharma, a senior application developer @ AppsChopper. When she is not coding, loves to write about different aspects of mobile app development and shares her insight and knowledge through her write-ups. You can follow Ashni on: Twitter, Facebook