India is getting closer and closer to becoming the worlds newest tech superpower and is currently the second largest mobile phone market behind China, so we can expect some crazy new innovations to start pouring out. Case in point; Ringing Bell’s Freedom 251 £3 smartphone.
This self dubbed ‘miracle’ product aims to provide all basic components of modern day smartphones for only a tiny, tiny fraction of the price. It looks like an iPhone 5, has 8GB of storage and a camera. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well that might actually be the case if critics are to be believed. Many vocal dissenters have proposed the theory that the Freedom 251 may be a huge scam in the making. The very idea that a fully functioning smartphone can be made for such a low price has been the first step towards this, and it doesn’t appear to be a reasonable theory. In order for Apple to make the 16GB iPhone 6 it costs around £149.52 ($200.10), and lets be honest with ourselves, iPhones aren’t the most powerful devices out there. You can cut costs, but you can’t make money simply disappear.
Furthermore, Kirit Somaiya, a member of the Indian Parliment, has actually come out and condemned the products as either a joke or scam made to fool the market. The fact that the smartphone has been around since the start of this year, but reviews are under embargo until 30 June.
Shilpa Kannan, a reviewer for the BBC and other fellow journalists were given a few copies to look at, but it was quickly discovered they were actually looking at a Chinese made device with what looked like Apple apps. Suffice to say, consumers who had laid down money were pissed.
After a huge number of refunds, a new model is on the way, made with cheaper components from Taiwan. Currently, the company is operating at a loss of around 150 rupees for each phone produced, and hopes the government will provide subsidies. This newer model will launch tomorrow, alongside the embargo removal.
But coming from a company with almost no existing technology background, dubious claims and existing evidence of underhand practices, we remain unconvinced.
Hey, if nothing else, skepticism will save you money.