The Worlds Cheapest Smartphone Launches in India
Indian handset supplier and relative new comer, Ringing Bells have just launched what’s been marketed as the cheapest Smartphone in the world.
Known as the Freedom 251, this new Smartphone has been made available for the speculator price of just 251 Rupees, equivalent to around $3.6 USD or £2.5 GBP. No surprise then that it seen an absurd amount of interest and online speculation over the past couple of days.
This remarkably price phone is substantially cheaper than any others in the Indian market, after a quick search online we found that the cheapest smart phones phone available in India before yesterday were priced at about 1500 Rupees, ( $22 USD or £15).
India is the world’s second largest cell phone market (after China) and with around 1 billion mobile phone users of which about 23% have a Smartphone, and that figure is growing fast. Unlike China the population appears more budget than brand orientated with many mid range phones being sold for under $60 or so and 4G LTE phones are really starting to take off.
Considering that for many people in India a Smartphone offers their sole access to the internet the new Freedom251 at such a competitive price is surely going to be an attractive offer that almost too good to pass up.
So just how can this relatively unknown company produce such as cheap Smartphone?
Even taking into account the fairly low specs such as a 4 inch screen with 540×960 resolution, 1.3GHz Quad Core CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GM internal memory, SD card Slot up 32GB, Android 5.1 OS and rear 3.2MP as well as front 0.3MP camera the phones components alone should cost more than its sales price, and that’s before you consider assembly, distribution and marketing costs. clearly this phone is being heavily subsidized.
Its not clear who is subsidizing the hand set and according to reports on BBC News the company denies any government involved in subsidies and indicate its economies of scale that make the sales prices so low, however this is very hard to believe as phone with similar specs should be retailing for close to 10 times the current sales price. This suggests the company is marking down the phone by as much as 90%, which has gathered a lot of criticism from skeptics.
The phone is supposed to be assembled in India and there are promises of delivery within 4 month, but considering high volume of early take-up the company may have trouble meeting this deadline and some reports suggest their Indian assembly plant / factory isn’t even constructed yet casting even more doubt on that 4 month delivery date.
Added to this that the first prototype devices handed out to journalists appears to be a handset made by Chinese phone manufacture Adcom, (With the logo covered in white paint) there are certainly grounds for concern.
There is certainly the old saying that you get what you pay for and the Indian Cellular Association has reportedly written to the country telecom’s minister addressing its concern.
Of course all this attention is great for the new Indian cell phone company but for those wanting a little more that the basics we would advise they check out the wide range of Smartphones available at Chinavasion.