Menu
In India, a $4 smartphone for the masses

In India, a $4 smartphone for the masses

Ringing Bells' Freedom 251 aims to target a sweet spot in the Indian market

Indian startup Ringing Bells has aroused curiosity by promising to launch a 251 rupees ($US4) smartphone, in the latest bid to take communications to the country's masses.

The device has no pretensions. It has a 4-inch IPS display, a 3.2 megapixel rear camera, a 0.3 megapixel front camera and runs on a 1.3GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory expandable up to 32GB with an SD card, according to the product website. The phones, which carry a warranty of one year, run Android Lollipop 5.1.

There are concerns, however, that the measures taken to keep the device price down may put off customers already used to fully functioning smartphones.

The new smartphone, called the Freedom 251, may perhaps be attractive to current users of feature phones, but a big issue for these users could be poor battery life, said Bryan Ma, vice president for devices research at IDC.

The new Freedom 251 smartphone has a 1450 mAh battery, which is small for the device, and may not be good enough for feature-phone users who have grown accustomed to many days of battery life, Ma said.

The smartphone's bill of materials may well be more than its price, according to analysts who speculate that the company may be using the $4 phone to build brand awareness and get publicity in order to later sell more sophisticated phones. If that is the objective of Ringing Bells, it has more than succeeded, as the new phone has attracted considerable attention in the Indian media.

For those who have been around in India long enough, the launch of Freedom 251 is in a sense a rerun of the introduction in 2011 of the $35 Aakash tablet from DataWind. The project was born out of a contract from the Indian government to provide tablets to students in higher education. But the device turned out to be underpowered and sold about 135,000 units for a 13.5 percent share of India's lackluster tablet market in the second quarter of 2015, according to IDC.

Meanwhile, the Freedom 251 has gotten attention but the jury is out on its market potential, Ma said. Beyond the technology, the vendor has to work out what would be the most relevant content and applications for the device, he added. Like most other devices designed for the masses, the Freedom 251 comes packaged with apps for users such as farmers and fishermen, in addition to well-known consumer apps such as Facebook and YouTube, all of which has been tried before without great success.

Ringing Bells said it will start booking orders for the phone from Thursday. Some news outlets that received the phone for review have pointed out that the built-in icons on the screen appear copied from those of Apple's iPhone.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments