Controversies continue to chase Ringing Bells, the company behind the world’s cheapest smartphone, the Freedom 251. After being mired in legal hassles and being compared to a ponzi scheme, the company is finally gearing up to start shipping the Rs 251 smartphone to those who had registered. But there’s a slight problem. The company only has 200,000 units to ship while it has over 70 million registered buyers. Also Read - Freedom 251 final photos, specifications and features revealed ahead of delivery on June 30Also Read - Freedom 251 maker Ringing Bells to now launch the 'cheapest' HD LED TV
With such a huge mismatch between the number of registered customers and units available, the company is going to hold a lucky draw to shortlist customers who will get the Freedom 251 smartphone. The first shipment is expected to go out tomorrow. Looking at the odds, only one in 350 registered users would receive the smartphone. Unless you are in UP, where the odds are even further stacked against registered buyers. Also Read - Freedom 251 timeline: From a ponzy scam to promising deliveries this month
Ringing Bells will ship the Freedom 251 state-wise to ensure the smartphone is distributed uniformly across the country. However, Firstpost reports that the company received 25 million registrations from UP alone, where the company plans to ship 10,000 units. That means you have a 1 in 2,500 chance of getting the smartphone in that state.
While the Rs 251 smartphone still feels like a scam, even if Ringing Bells manages to deliver on its promise, it will still leave a lot of unsatisfied customers. It is surprising that Ringing Bells did not stop the registration after it had reached a pre-determined number of customers, to whom it could deliver the smartphone. To put things into perspective, Xiaomi sold 71 million smartphones globally last year. Ringing Bells had let more than 70 million people register for the world’s cheapest smartphone that is being sold lower than the cost of the battery that powers it.
It is a double whammy for those who registered in the first place, considering registering for the phone wasn’t an easy task. The company’s website kept crashing and Ringing Bells claimed its website received more than 600,000 hits per second on the first day and only 30,000 people could register for buying the Freedom 251.
Well, Ringing Bells is no stranger to controversies. The company has already come under scanner for its dubious business model, which the industry experts have already described as not sustainable. In the meantime, Ringing Bells has confirmed it will be delivering the smartphones with a different set of specifications than the rebranded version of Adcom unit it had shown months ago at the launch.
RELATED: Freedom 251: First Impressions
The updated Freedom 251 has a 4-inch display. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and is powered by 1.3GHz quad-core processor along with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone has 8GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. While the rear camera is same at 8-megapixel resolution, the front camera has been upgraded from VGA to 3.2 megapixel. The battery size has been increased to 1,800 mAh from 1,450 mAh. Connectivity options include dual-SIM card slots, 3G support, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
These specs look like of an entry-level 3G smartphone, which are available in the market for roughly Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000. It is very clear that Ringing Bells is selling these devices at loss. While we are yet to see the elusive Freedom 251, the company has plans to launch the cheapest LED TVs , which would be priced lesser than Rs 10,000. Well, we shall wait for that too.