Is ‘Freedom 251’ the world’s cheapest smartphone, a big scam?

5 reasons that would make one believe that $4 Freedom 251 Android smartphone is a big scam

The social media was abuzz last week when a recently formed smartphone company, Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd. launched the cheapest 3G smartphone in India, Freedom 251 at an astonishing price of Rs. 251 ($less than $4). The Union Minister of Defence of India, Shri Manohar Parrikar launched the world’s cheapest smartphone “Freedom 251” under ‘Make-In-India’ initiative at an event in New Delhi. Since ‘Make-In-India’ is a program by Government of India, it lead to many people believe in this company and book this phone.

However, this cheap smartphone and its makers have come under scanner and are being looked at as a big scam. The reasons provided below state about possibility of a big scam. However, the truth will come to light only after Ringing Bells will start delivering this smartphones to the users by June 30.

Until then, let’s have a look at the reasons:

1. Pricing of the product

When the initial announcement regarding Freedom 251 was made, the phone was said to cost Rs. 500. However, subsequent clarifications revealed that it would instead be priced at Rs. 251. Sounds fishy, right? Also, the Mobile Industry Body and Indian Cellular Association (ICA) have raised questions on the pricing of this budget smartphone. ICA maintained that this device cannot be sold below $51 (Rs. 3,500) even after a subsidized sale.

2. Freedom 251 is using Adcom’s casing

Freedom 251 has been spotted with Chinese company, Adcom’s casing. While Adcom said that it is not manufacturing Freedom 251, it is still unclear whether Ringing Bells will make Freedom 251 in its own manufacturing plant or other. Also, Adcom’s logo has been hidden using a Whitener. Adcom’s Marketing Manager said that, “We have no idea that our branding is being used on the Freedom 251. We will look into this.”

3. Unapproved by the Government

Ringing Bells is not registered and certified under Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Therefore, the company is not licensed to sell its products in India. BJP’s MP Mr Kirti Somaiya has labelled this company as ‘ponzi bogus company scam’. There is no subsidy provided to the manufacturer from Government for this scheme. Also, the company has used the words of Startup India & Make-In-India but they do not have any collaboration with these two schemes.

4. Piracy Issue

The company may find itself in a legal soup, as it looks similar to an Apple iPhone. All the icons of the built-in app are a pixel-to-pixel copy of Apple’s iOS icons. A genuine company will not steal the work of other company. Apple’s icons like Calculator, Camera, Web Browser and Email have been used in Freedom 251.

5. Poorly Designed Website and Data Insecurity

Many people found vulnerability in the site after some inspection. The primary security protocol for any Shopping site is HTTPS, and it is very easy to setup HTTPS. However, the site does not use this protocol. SSL (HTTPS) encrypts data between the user and the server, which helps to secure your important details from hackers. In other words, it hints to us that our data is not at all safe with them, as you can book the device only through net banking, debit or credit card, since no Cash-On-Delivery (COD) option is available.

The company has made some tall claims stating they want to capture nearly 30 percent of the smartphone market by the end of the year. However, the company’s site crashed even before it started taking its first booking order for the Freedom 251.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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