This morning India was blown away by the Idea of having a smartphone priced at mere Rs 251 or around $3.6, when a Noida based Smartphone Company, Ringing Bells announced the cheapest 3G enabled handset in the country. As a part of Digital India, this company is going to launch their second handset, Freedom 251, first one being Smart 101, at a New Delhi event in India today. What it meant is that this handset should be a “Make in India” product.
Though, after doing some research we find out that it isn’t an original device and resembles the design aesthetics of the Adcom Ikon 4, which is already available in Indian market at a price of Rs 3,999. Now it seems like Freedom 251 smartphone would be a rebranded Adcom Icon 4. In short, if that’s true, then it might not be the Make in India smartphone we thought it would. Moreover, the after sales service that company has mentioned is of Adcom. So, this could be the possibility that Ringing Bells might have partnered up with Adcom.
There are lots of images being posted online of the Freedom 251 smartphone, which look pretty similar to the Ikon 4 smartphone from another Indian smartphone vendor, the Adcom. It may not be a well known brand, but Adcom has been seen doing partnership with International Chinese brands like Zopo, to bring their handsets into the country. The Ikon 4 handset is currently available to buy from Flipkart, the e-commerce website, at a Rs 3,999 pricing.
Why had such suspicion? Well apart from obvious reasons we mentioned above, it seems highly unlikely for a manufacturer to launch a handset at Rs 251/ $3.6. As alone 4-inch display assembly is said to cost around $35 which includes LCD, digitizer and front bezel. Meanwhile, it is also claimed by a twitter user that Indian Cellular Association has set a minimum price limit for a 3G enabled smartphone at Rs 2700, which makes it clearly impossible to offer a phone at Rs 251 pricing.
If you’re wondering how a four thousand rupees smartphone is priced at Rs 251? We have a theory. Since, this is a Make in India initiative by government and to ensure that it reaches to masses, they might have been given subsidy from a lot of taxes these smartphone makers have to go through. Since, the ministers would be joining in, and it is a public launch event, it does seem likely that this project is government supported. Though, it’s unsettling that a government has partnered up with a company (Ringing Bells) with that has a history of unfulfilled promises.
We would be present at the launch event in New Delhi, stay tuned for more updates about the cheapest 3G enabled smartphone. We are hoping this to be not true that Ringing Bells is just exporting handsets out of China in the name of Make in India campaign. Although, this isn’t the first time that this 20 people smartphone company based out of Noida is accused of fraud. Check out the below article to know more about it.
Note: The differences between Freedom 251 and Adcom Ikon 4 are regarding display, camera package and battery. The display on the first handset is of qHD resolution whereas its WVGA on Adcom handset. The rear and front cameras are of 5MP and 1.3MP on the Adcom unit while its 3.2MP and 0.3MP modules on the Freedom 251 smartphone. The battery is slightly reduced to 1450mAh than 1500mAh on the Ikon 4. We think this little tone down of specs might be to get maximum subsidy.
Photo Credit: Twitter