Friday, 19 February 2016

Truth About the World's Cheapest Smartphone Freedom 251


Introduction

There has been a trend in the social media circles and in the internet about the launch of a new Smartphone that is the cheapest one till date. The promoters of this Smartphone have named it as Freedom 251. Since this mobile is marketed under the Make in India initiative, it has been named as Freedom. The number 251 depicts the amount one needs to heave out from the pocket to own it. This mobile phone was put on sales after a big fanfare launch near New Delhi yesterday, i.e., on February 18, 2016. In fact, many people, including dignitaries, ministers and former ministers, attended the launch event. Lots of marketing has gone into this product prior to its launch. Prior to the launch, there were lots of advanced bookings. Numerically, over 30,000 bookings have been done from the company's website that has been created specially for this purpose. Hence, it would be prudent to take stock of the situation and gather some facts about this much hyped product.
freedom 251


Freedom 251

It is in fact the cheapest Smartphone available in the world. If this offer turns out to be successful, it no doubt become quite popular with Indians. According to the current estimate, only less than 14% of the total Indian population have the access to the luxury of owning a Smartphone due to higher costs. The company that has come out with the cheapest Smartphone is Noida-based Ringing Bells. As before, many people have raised the doubt about this product as it is coming from a hitherto unheard of company. Therefore, the event was met with a mixed bag of excitement and skepticism. As soon as the news about the launch of the product spread, the website is flooded with the requests for advanced booking through a new website. Adding the cost of its shipping, the set comes with a total cost of Rs. 291. At one point, the server hosting the company website did crash as it could not cater to more than 6 lakh hits per second. Before the website crash, about 30,000 people could do the advanced booking. As a result, the Ringing Bells could garner an amount of Rs. 8, 730,000 in the first few hours of mad rush.
freedom 251 mobile

Why People Raise Doubt About this Product ?

Though the news of the launch of Freedom 251 is trending in social media, it is slowly snowballing into a scam. Some people have in reality started seeing this product and event as the prelude of a scam. In this blog post, let us see whether we can find substance in them.
ringing bells

  1. Copyright Issue: If we look at the home screen, one can easily find the striking similarity of it with that of the iPhone from Apple. The whole User Interface appears to be copied from that of Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Even the executives of the Noida-based firm Ringing Bells have acknowledged that.


    comparison
  2. Website Pitfalls: It has no contact details, instead it has a contact form. On the whole, the site looks like amateurish and appears to be hard-coded. On the website analysis, the site appears to be less than 10 days old. The customers can even buy the sets in half quantities!!!


    website issues
  3. Unauthorized Reselling: The front portion of the set comes with an Adcom label. In many sets, it has been either overwritten with Freedom 251 or hidden with a whitener. It seems Adcom has taken note of this. The company saying it has not manufactured any product for Ringing Bells.


    freedom smartphone
  4. Shipping Date: Despite the advanced booking, the shipping dates are four months away. Despite of having many options for seeking help from e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon, and from the crowd funding for marketing and the product development, the Ringing Bells chose to go for a brand new website to handle its requirements.
  5. No Investment: It seems the promoters have not put their monetary stake in this business. This was the response the news scribe got on posing a relevant question to the organizers. The promoters have further added that the funding for the project came through equity and debt investment. Hence, the promoters have nothing to lose if the product fails to take off.


    freedom 251
  6. Cost Factor: Using the current technology, it is possible only to make simplest of Smartphones at the cost of Rs. 3800 (even after including subsidies). At the time of launch, the Noida company had claimed that it did not get any government subsidy for this product. Hence, the magic wand for bringing the cost down is unclear.


    freedom smartphone
  7. Service Centres: Though the company site claims that it has put in place 650+ service centers across the country, it has not given any information on them, let alone their addresses.
  8. More Promises in Making: The promoters of this Smartphone come with more offers, prompting people to go for a last minute run even after the official window period for advanced booking is over. Some crook elements are making use of this fact to extract more money and give their receipts to customers.
Thuruvananthapuram New Delhi, Delhi, India
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