Ringing Bells, a handset maker based in India, has launched Freedom 251 – regarded as the most economical smartphone in India – on 17 February 2016. The phone was unveiled by Manohar Parrikar, the Union Defence Minister. The high-profile event also saw Murli Manohar Joshi, a BJP MP, and Om Prakash Sanklecha, a legislator from Madhya Pradesh, in attendance. It is expected that this phone will cause some major splash in the Indian market for handsets. The Make in India Week has been going on from 13 February and is expected to end on 18 February and the launch of this phone is an integral part of the said project, which is extremely close to Narendra Modi. The company, headquartered in Noida, has stated that with this particular product it will aim to change the growth story of India.
The smartphone market in India
At present, the cheapest smartphone in India is available for INR 1500 and the new phone – titled Freedom 251 in keeping with its initial price of INR 251 – is expected to create a lot of ripples. In a press release, Ringing Bells has also said that the introduction of the phone is a proof of how successful the latest programmes of the central government have been. Datawind had stated that it would be associating with Reliance Communications (RCOM), owned by Anil Ambani, and make a smartphone, which was supposed to be sold for INR 999. In that case it would have been the cheapest smartphone in the world. However, the phone is yet to see the light of the day.
The smartphone market in India is growing by the day – in fact it is one of the leading smartphone markets in terms of growth. At this rate, there is a distinct possibility that in the next few years it will usurp the US as the second-biggest market for smartphones in the world. In the last couple of years, Xiaomi, Gionee, Motorola, and other global smartphone companies have started to assemble their handsets in India. This is a major boost for the Make in India programme as well.
Development plan of Ringing Bells
Ringing Bells was established in 2015. In the first phase it will start off by just assembling handsets. Later on, it will go full tilt at developing smartphones, full of features, in India itself. Ringing Bells is already credited with the launch of one of the most pocket-friendly 4G smartphones in India with a price of INR 2,999. It has also come up with a couple of other feature phones in India of late. The organization is also pushing the phone as part of the Digital India programme, once again a brainchild of Narendra Modi.
Freedom 251 specifications
The phone’s display screen measures 4 inches and it also has a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. It has a 1 GB RAM and its 8 GB internal storage can be increased to 32 GB. Its back camera is 3.2 megapixels and its front camera is 0.3 megapixel. It also has a 1450 mAh battery.
Issues with the phone
It is being said in certain sections of the media that Freedom 251 has a lot of problems. As per reports, it is being stated that the phone’s makers may have committed copyright infringement from iPhone, the iconic offering from Apple. Most of the in-built icons in the phones are supposed to have been lifted straight from iPhone. The web browser app is also supposed to be uncomfortably similar to the Safari browser, which is exclusive only to Apple’s products. The round home button is pretty similar as well. There are also some doubts regarding veracity of claims that the phone has been made in India.
The phone is being linked to Adcom, a company that imports IT products, and is based in New Delhi. It is being implied that Freedom 251 has been listed – probably in another name – on websites such as Gadget360, Snapdeal, Amazon, and Shopclues, and is priced at almost INR 4900. Ringing Bells has also said that the phone will feature apps related to Swachh Bharat, WhatsApp, safety of women, Facebook, and YouTube. However, from the looks of it they are yet to be incorporated in the phone’s preview version, which is really strange considering the rule that as an organization you are supposed to give your prospective buyers a clear picture of what you are offering.
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