The buzz around Freedom251

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Jagruti Jain, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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There’s a buzz created around a newly launched android phone Freedom251 by a Noida-based Ringing Bells these days. The phone claims to have the following features: a 4-inch WVGA IPS display, 3.2 megapixel auto-focus rear camera, 0.3 megapixel front camera, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal storage with SD card support, 1450 mAh battery, and Android 5.1 Lollipop OS. Everyone is wandering how an android phone be as cheap as Rs. 251 with these features.

Here are some of the controversies surrounding the world’s cheapest smartphone:
The Indian Cellular Association expressed serious concerns over the launch of the smartphone and it has also written to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to get into depth of the issue, saying the rate could not be below Rs 3,500 even after a subsidised sale.

The Freedom 251 is actually Adcom Ikon 4 in disguise. It has a partially-erased Adcom logo on the front that the company attempted to mask with whitener. Even the Adcom logo on the back cover has been scratched off and a flag of India painted atop.

Having the resemblance of iOS, the Freedom 251 is said to be an Android phone. Furthermore, the phone has been promised to come with pre-loaded apps for farmers and women safety, none of which are available on the so-called prototype.

The phone is not listed on the BIS certifications page, but the company has said that the application is under filing and it is expected to be in place well before delivery commences on February 25. On allegations of not being registered with Qualcomm, which is a mandate for all 3G handsets, the company says that Freedom 251 runs the Spreadtrum chipset, so there is no requirement of being registered with Qualcomm.

The company made the phone available through online registrations. But it was noted that the website was not accessible initially. There were some more bugs found when a user tried to make a payment. The website was redirected to the home page.

Whether the Rs 251 Freedom 251 smartphone is a real thing or just a concept in-the-air, we shall know once the delivery begins on February 25.

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