A smartphone that is cheaper than a phone bill!
There has been much excitement around the Rs 251 smartphone, which, in all probability, makes it the world's cheapest. While much of the details around the Ringing Bells Freedom 251 was released prior to the official launch and quite a few questions have also been raised.
The Freedom 251 looks like yet another iPhone clone, not only on the exterior (complete with the circular home button) but even the app icons appear like a rip-off of what's found on iOS.
The phone also appears to be a rebranded version of another phone marketed in India by New Delhi-based Adcom. The Adcom Ikon 4 (listed on a number of online shopping sites) shares the same looks and specifications as the Ringing Bells Freedom 251, including the appearance of the Apple-like icons.
Freedom 251 handset will have a 4-inch WVGA (480x800) IPS display, 3.2 megapixel auto-focus rear camera, 0.3 megapixel front camera, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB of internal storage with SD card support, 1450 mAh battery, and Android 5.1 Lollipop OS.
Adcom Ikon 4
Bookings for the phone will start from February 18 and will close on February 21 on freedom251.com. The deliveries, however, according to the company will be completed four months later - by June 30, 2016. The website was not fully functional the last time we checked.
The phone also looks nothing like the renders posted on the company's website and on its social media accounts. The actual look of the phone, however, matches the image published on the full-page ads that appeared on Wednesday in national dailies.
Freedom 251 promotional image. The actual phone is an altogether different phone.
The image of the Indian flag on the rear of the phone is also not aesthetically appealing.
There are also doubts about the sustainability of the price model. IBNLive analysed the import costs of the components of the comparable Adcom Ikon 4 and the price of the components total to at least Rs 2546 (the Adcom Ikon 4 is priced at Rs 4081 on Flipkart). And the Freedom 251 is being advertised at a tenth of that cost. There's also speculation abound that the price could possibly be marketing gimmick.
The phone will come with a standard warranty of 1 year. According to the company's website, "this warranty of the product extends for a period of 12 months for the host unit, 6 months for battery and charger, and 3 months for earphone commencing from the date of purchase."
The Freedom 251 was formally launched at an event in New Delhi by BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi.
Currently, the other cheapest smartphones available in the market are priced around Rs 1,500. Last year, DataWind had announced that it is teaming up with Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications to launch the world's most affordable smartphone, priced at Rs 999. The phone is yet to hit the market.
Established last year, Ringing Bells will start with the assembly of handsets in the first phase and aims at full indigenous development of the feature-rich smartphones.