There is a lot of heated debate going around Freedom 251, a smartphone for just Rs. 251, less than the cost of a large pizza. Privacy, safety aspects, how the company will make profits and a lot of questions are yet to be answered by the manufacturers. Here we look at few reasons why it could be the biggest online scam ever:
It’s not approved by the Government of IndiaThe company is not listed in Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) which covers product quality certification, consumer affairs and development of technical standards. It is a mandatory certification required to sell a product in India.
No address mentionedThey have no address mentioned anywhere on the website and there’s no clarity over their claim of having 650+ service centres in India.
Using whitener to cover the real logoThey used a whitener to cover the real logo of Adcom, which is a Delhi based importer of gadgets and electronic products from China. Why would a company cleverly cover the logo of another company with a whitener and launch the product under Make in India initiative. Moreover as per the words of Marketing Manager of Adcom, “We have no idea that our branding is being used on the Freedom 251. We will look into this.” We are not sure if all of this sums up to be a business strategy, or a classic Indian Jugaad.
It’s a blatant Apple Rip-offThe round home button on the screen to the icons(web browser, calculator, camera and email), everything is a rip-off of Apple’s iOS. Apple has patents for everything — including the rounded edges of the rectangular screen of the iPad — and its app icons are copyrighted too. Not sure about Make in India, this is clearly a Fake in India.
False AdvertisementThe actual handset received by the media is entirely different from the handset which is being shown on their website and the full page ads in newspapers.
False PromisesThey have mentioned in the website that the smartphone will be pre-loaded with several apps such as Swatch Bharat, Women Safety App, Facebook, Whatsapp and more. But the review unit had no such apps. We would wait to see if the final unit comes pre-installed with those apps or not(mainly, if the phone ever arrives or not).
The website is choppy and full of bugsOrders for a much-hyped smartphone takes place in a website that goes down at 6.01 AM, a minute after the website start accepting bookings.
Unreasonable pricingMobile Industry Body Indian Cellular Association (ICA) has written to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, asking him to look into this matter, as there is no way any company can sell such a handset below Rs 2700, even after considering all discount factors. And on top of that the company claims it will make profits.
It’s under the radar of Income tax departmentA three-member team from the department reached the company’s office in Noida on 19th February, 2016, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. The company has been under suspicion for the $4 price tag and for failing to convince analysts with its explanation of how it was able to sell it at such a low price.
- Half the phone for half the price?
From specifications offered at an unbelievably low price point, a lot has already been said about the Freeedom 251. But what still seems baffling is how they will achieve the price point so low for a device that has a configuration equal to the smartphones prices over a couple of thousands. Well, whatever be the case if this turns out the other way around, then it’s certainly a deal breaker for us. Last but not the least, here are some really funny posts from ‘Cutemohit’ (awww), the Director of Ringing Bells.